Last major update issued on May 22, 2012 at 04:30 UTC.
[Solar and geomagnetic data - last month (updated
[Solar wind and electron fluence charts (updated daily)
[Solar cycles 21-24 (last update May 3, 2012)]
[Solar cycles 1-20]
[Graphical comparison of cycles 21, 22, 23 and 24 (last update May 3, 2012)]
[Graphical comparison of cycles 10, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 24 (last update May 3, 2012)]
[Historical solar and geomagnetic data charts 1954-2006 (last update April 5, 2007)]
[Archived reports since January 2003 (last update May 3, 2012)]
[POES auroral activity level since October
2009 - updated May 19, 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 active on May 21. Solar wind speed at SOHO ranged between 333 and 407 km/s. A weak solar wind shock was observed at SOHO at 18:52 UTC, likely the arrival of a small CME observed on May 18. This caused a brief increase in geomagnetic activity. Early on May 22 a high speed stream associated with CH517 appears to be the dominant solar wind source.
Solar flux measured at 20h UTC on 2.8 GHz was 125.1 (decreasing 8.5 over the last solar rotation). The Potsdam WDC planetary A index was 6 (STAR Ap - based on the mean of three hour interval ap indices: 6.0). Three hour interval K indices: 01010142 (planetary), 11022332 (Boulder).
The background x-ray flux is at the class B3 level.
At midnight UTC the visible solar disk had 12 spotted active regions (in 2K resolution SDO images).
Region 11478 [S23W88] rotated quietly to the southwest limb.
Region 11479 [N14W67] decayed slowly and quietly.
Region 11482 [N15W58] decayed slowly and quietly.
Region 11483 [S23W56] decayed slowly and quietly.
Region 11484 [N12W27] decayed in the leading spot section while some development was observed in the central parts. There's weak polarity intermixing and a slight chance of an M class flare.
Region 11485 [S17W15] was quiet and stable.
Region 11486 [N15E27] decayed slowly and quietly.
Spotted active regions not numbered by NOAA/SWPC:
S1659 [N14E06] was quiet and stablee.
New region S1670 [S32E70] rotated into view with a tiny spot.
New region S1671 [S19E52] emerged with tiny spots.
New region S1672 [N12E70] rotated into view displaying a few small spots.
New region S1673 [N27W16] emerged with two small spots near CH518.
May 19-21: No obviously Earth directed CMEs were observed in LASCO or 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 recurrent trans equatorial coronal hole (CH517) was in an Earth facing position on May 19-20. A coronal hole (CH518) in the northern hemisphere will be in an Earth facing position on May 21 but may be too far to the north to become geoeffective.
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 fair.
The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to active on May 22 and quiet to unsettled on May 23 due to effects from CH517. Effects from CH518 could cause some unsettled intervals on May 24-25.
|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
|Total spot count:||39||80||42|
|Sunspot number:||109||200||142||(total spot count + 10 * number of spotted regions)|
|Weighted penumbral SN:||72||111||73||(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):||65||70||78||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||125.3 (1)||72.6 (2A) / 107.2 (2B)||(75.8 projected, +1.3)||(9.57)|
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.