Last major update issued on March 22, 2012 at 04:55 UTC.
[Solar and geomagnetic data - last month (updated
[Solar wind and electron fluence charts (updated daily)
[Solar cycles 21-24 (last update March 2, 2012)]
[Solar cycles 1-20]
[Graphical comparison of cycles 21, 22, 23 and 24 (last update March 2, 2012)]
[Graphical comparison of cycles 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 24 (last update March 2, 2012)]
[Historical solar and geomagnetic data charts 1954-2006 (last update April 5, 2007)]
[Archived reports since January 2003 (last update March 1, 2012)]
[POES auroral activity level since October
2009 - updated March 21, 2012]
Annotated geomagnetic activity charts - Carrington rotation 2118 [December 2011 - January 2012] - 2119 [January-February 2012]
[Solar polar fields vs solar cycles - updated June 27, 2011]
The geomagnetic field was quiet to unsettled on March 21. Solar wind speed at SOHO ranged between 350 and 403 km/s.
Solar flux measured at 20h UTC on 2.8 GHz was 99.9 (decreasing 3.4 over the last solar rotation). The Potsdam WDC planetary A index was 8 (STAR Ap - based on the mean of three hour interval ap indices: 7.5). Three hour interval K indices: 21122132 (planetary), 10122221 (Boulder).
The background x-ray flux is at the class B2 level.
At midnight UTC the visible solar disk had 10 spotted active regions (in 2K resolution SDO images).
Region 11433 [N09W69] decayed slowly and quietly.
Region 11434 [S21W77] decayed slowly and quietly.
Region 11436 [S13W04] was quiet and stable.
Region 11438 [S15E57] was quiet and stable.
New region 11440 [S26W25] emerged on March 19 and was assigned a number by SWPC two days later. The region developed on March 21 and has polarity intermixing. There's rudimentary penumbra between two nearby opposite polarity trailing spots. If the region develops further there will be a chance of M class flaring. Flares: C2.9 at 12:52, C1.2 at 13:59, C1.1 at 15:50 UTC.
Spotted regions not reported by NOAA/SWPC:
[S1537] reemerged on March 21 with several spots. Location at midnight: S28W42
[S1539] emerged in the northeast quadrant on March 20. Location at midnight: N05E12
[S1540] emerged near the northeast limb on March 21. Location at midnight: N13E65
[S1541] rotated into view at the northeast limb on March 21. Location at midnight: N16E78
[S1542] emerged in the southwest quadrant on March 21. Location at midnight: S17W32
AR 11432 at the northwest limb produced a low level C (estimated magnitude C1.5) class event at 22:25 UTC. With GOES x-ray monitoring currently not available, AIA 094 and 131 were used to determine the time and approximate magnitude of the flare.
March 19-21: No obviously Earth directed CMEs were observed in LASCO and STEREO imagery.
Coronal hole history (since October
Compare today's report to the situation one solar rotation ago: 28 days ago 27 days ago 26 days ago
A coronal hole (CH508) in the southern hemisphere was in an Earth facing position on March 20. CH508 decayed and almost closed on March 20-21 due to emerging AR 11440. A recurrent coronal hole (CH509) in the northern hemisphere will likely rotate into an Earth facing position on March 25.
The above coronal hole map is based on a method where coronal holes are detected automatically. While the method may need some fine tuning, it has significant advantages over detecting coronal holes manually. The main improvement is the ability to detect coronal holes at and just beyond the solar limbs. Early results using this method for SDO images over a span of several weeks indicate a good match between coronal holes observed over the visible disk and their extent and position at the east and west limbs. Note that the polar coronal holes are easily detected using this method, the extent and intensity of both CHs are consistent with other data sources.
Long distance low and medium frequency (below 2 MHz) propagation along paths north of due west over high and upper middle latitudes is poor to fair. Propagation on long distance northeast-southwest paths is poor.
The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet on March 22. A high speed stream from CH508 could cause quiet to unsettled conditions on March 23-24.
|Coronal holes (1)||Coronal mass ejection (2)||M and X class flares (3)|
1) Effects from a coronal hole could reach Earth within the
next 5 days. When the high speed stream has arrived the color changes to
2) Effects from a CME are likely to be observed at Earth within 96 hours.
3) There is a possibility of either M or X class flares within the next 48 hours.
Green: 0-20% probability, Yellow: 20-60% probability, Red: 60-100% probability.
Click on image for higher resolution image) Compare to the previous day's image
When available the active region map has a coronal hole polarity overlay where red (pink) is negative and blue (blue-green) is positive.
Data for all numbered solar regions according to the Solar Region Summary provided by NOAA/SWPC. Comments are my own, as is the STAR spot count (spots observed at or inside a few hours before midnight) and data for regions not numbered by SWPC or where SWPC has observed no spots. SWPC active region numbers in the table below and in the active region map above are the historic SWPC/USAF numbers.
|Active region||Date numbered
|Spot count||Location at midnight||Area||Classification||SDO / HMI 4K continuum
image with magnetic polarity overlay
|2||S24W90||0070||HSX||rotated out of view|
|Total spot count:||12||33||20|
|Sunspot number:||62||133||90||(total spot count + 10 * number of spotted regions)|
|Weighted penumbral SN:||37||53||40||(Sum of total spot count + classification weighting for each AR. Classification weighting: X=0, R=3, A/S=5, H/K=10)|
|Relative sunspot number (Wolf number):||37||47||50||k * (sunspot number). k = 0.6 for SWPC, k = 0.35 (changed from 0.45 on March 1, 2011) for STAR SDO 2K, k = 0.55 for STAR SDO 1K|
|Month||Average measured solar flux||International sunspot number (SIDC)||Smoothed sunspot number||Average ap
|2008.07||65.7 (SF minimum)||0.5||2.8 (-0.4)|
|2011.09||133.8||78.0||(59.2 projected, +0.2)||12.27|
|2011.10||137.3||88.0||(59.4 projected, +0.2)||8.28|
|2011.11||153.5||96.7||(60.8 projected, +1.4)||5.55|
|2011.12||141.3||73.0||(63.6 projected, +2.8)||3.78|
|2012.01||132.5||58.3||(67.1 projected, +3.5)||7.15|
|2012.02||106.5||33.1||(71.0 projected, +3.9)||8.81|
|2012.03||118.8 (1)||52.2 (2A) / 77.0 (2B)||(73.2 projected, +2.2)||(24.91)|
1) Running average based on the daily 20:00 UTC observed solar flux value at
2A) Current impact on the monthly sunspot number based on the Boulder (NOAA/SWPC) sunspot number (accumulated daily sunspots / month days). The official SIDC international sunspot number is typically 30-50% lower. 2B) Month average to date.
3) Running average based on the quicklook Potsdam WDC ap indices. Values in red are based on the definitive international Potsdam WDC ap indices.
This report has been prepared by Jan Alvestad. It is based on analysis of data from whatever sources are available at the time the report is prepared. All time references are to the UTC day. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.
SDO images are courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams.