Last major update issued on May 6, 2012 at 06:00 UTC.
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[Graphical comparison of cycles 21, 22, 23 and 24 (last update May 3, 2012)]
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[POES auroral activity level since October
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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 on May 5. Solar wind speed at SOHO ranged between 275 and 329 km/s..
Solar flux measured at 20h UTC on 2.8 GHz was 116.0 (increasing 22.7 over the last solar rotation). The Potsdam WDC planetary A index was 4 (STAR Ap - based on the mean of three hour interval ap indices: 3.8). Three hour interval K indices: 11112101 (planetary), 11022212 (Boulder).
The background x-ray flux is at the class B7 level.
At midnight UTC the visible solar disk had 7 spotted active regions (in 2K resolution SDO images).
Region 11470 [S17W27] was mostly quiet and stable.
Region 11471 [S22W22] developed polarity intermixing with new small spots emerging to the north and southeast of the leading penumbra.
Region 11472 [S30W32] was quiet and stable.
Region 11474 [N14E28] was quiet and stable.
Region 11475 [N05E37] was quiet and stable.
New region 11476 [N11E75] rotated partly into view at the northeast limb on May 4 and was numbered the next day by SWPC. As the trailing penumbra is now in view it is obvious that this is a large and complex region capable of producing a major flare. A central penumbra has a magnetic delta structure and frequent flaring is likely to continue as long as that structure persists. Flares: C6.8 at 09:35, impulsive M1.4 at 13:23, impulsive M1.3 at 23:01 UTC. Many flares below the C5 level were recorded as well.
Spotted active regions not numbered or interpreted differently by NOAA/SWPC:
S1611 [S27W79] decayed slowly and quietly.
An active region just behind the southeast limb could rotate into view later today.
May 3-5: No obviously Earth directed CMEs were observed in LASCO and STEREO imagery. There's a slight chance one or two of the small CMEs observed on May 4 and 5 could have Earth directed components.
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 recurrent trans equatorial coronal hole (CH515) will rotate into an Earth facing position on May 5-7.
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 fair to good. Propagation on long distance northeast-southwest paths is poor.
The geomagnetic field is expected to be mostly quiet on May 6-7. On May 8-10 a high speed stream from CH515 will likely cause quiet to minor storm conditions with a chance of major storm intervals.
|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
SWPC has S1611 and 11469 as one region
|11473||2012.05.01||1||S20W89||0010||AXX||rotated out of view|
|Total spot count:||18||70||32|
|Sunspot number:||88||140||92||(total spot count + 10 * number of spotted regions)|
|Weighted penumbral SN:||38||104||62||(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):||53||49||51||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)|
|2011.11||153.5||96.7||(61.2 projected, +1.3)||5.55|
|2011.12||141.3||73.0||(63.9 projected, +2.7)||3.78|
|2012.01||132.5||58.3||(67.4 projected, +3.5)||7.15|
|2012.02||106.5||33.1||(71.4 projected, +4.0)||8.81|
|2012.03||114.7||64.2||(73.5 projected, +2.1)||16.08|
|2012.04||113.0||55.2||(74.5 projected, +1.0)||10.10|
|2012.05||113.9 (1)||16.3 (2A) / 100.8 (2B)||(75.8 projected, +1.3)||(6.03)|
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 and definitive 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.