Last major update issued on March 29, 2012 at 04:50 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 28, 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 minor storm on March 28. Solar wind speed at SOHO ranged between 359 and 464 km/s under the influence of a low to medium speed stream associated with CH509.
Solar flux measured at 20h UTC on 2.8 GHz was 107.0 (increasing 3.6 over the last solar rotation). The Potsdam WDC planetary A index was 19 (STAR Ap - based on the mean of three hour interval ap indices: 19.1). Three hour interval K indices: 55322232 (planetary), 44332221 (Boulder).
The background x-ray flux is at the class B3 level.
At midnight UTC the visible solar disk had 11 spotted active regions (in 2K resolution SDO images).
Region 11438 [S14W36] decayed slowly and quietly.
Region 11443 [N13W15] was quiet and stable.
Region 11444 [N19W24] lost the leader spots and was mostly quiet.
Region 11445 [S23E12] decayed slowly and quietly.
Region 11447 [S24W66] was quiet and stable.
New region 11448 [S17E56] rotated into view at the southeast limb on March 26 and was assigned a number by SWPC two days later.
Spotted regions not reported by NOAA/SWPC:
[S1548] emerged in the northeast quadrant on March 23 and developed quickly on March 26. Slow decay was observed on March 27 while new spots emerged in the leading spot section on March 28 resulting in minor polarity intermixing. SWPC has this as AR 11442, a region which was originally further west. Location at midnight: N13W26.
[S1553] rotated into view at the southeast limb on March 27. Location at midnight: S19E64
[S1557] emerged in the southern hemisphere near the central meridian on March 28. Location at midnight: S18W03
[S1558] emerged in the southeast quadrant on March 28. Location at midnight: S30E29
March 26 and 28: No obviously Earth directed CMEs were observed in LASCO and
STEREO imagery. Several CMEs originating in old AR 11429 behind the northeast
limb were observed over the last days.
March 27: A full halo CME was associated with a C5 event in region 11444 early in the day. This CME could reach Earth on March 29.
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 (CH509) was in an Earth facing position on March 23-25.
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. Propagation on long distance northeast-southwest paths is poor to fair.
The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to active on March 29-30 due to weak CME effects. Quiet conditions are likely on March 31. There's a fair chance of an M or X class flare from old AR 11429 behind the northeast limb.
|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 data is for AR S1548
|Total spot count:||20||54||27|
|Sunspot number:||70||154||97||(total spot count + 10 * number of spotted regions)|
|Weighted penumbral SN:||33||74||47||(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):||42||54||53||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||115.1 (1)||67.8 (2A) / 75.1 (2B)||(73.2 projected, +2.2)||(21.62)|
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.