Sun activity: Sun is calm, for now
Sun activity December 9: Sun is calm, for now
Today’s top news: Sun activity is back to nominal. But there are a few things to notice. The long-lasting prominence on the sun’s southwest limb (edge) – which yesterday was slowly erupting with some plasma falling back to the sun and some flying into space – has now ended. Sunspot region AR3153 is the largest on the sun today, and has a moderately complex beta-gamma configuration, indicating possible activity. But its activity has remained low, with few C flares despite its size and magnetic complexity. No coronal holes are visible on the sun today today. A Kp4 (Kp is an indicator of disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field) geomagnetic disturbance was registered in the past 24 hours. The threshold was reached at 23:10 UTC on December 8, 2022. This was the effect of the last vestiges of high-speed solar wind from a large coronal hole (now decayed).
Last 24 hours: Sun activity is low. There were six C flares in the past day and six B flares. The largest was a C4.01 flare that just occurred at the closing of this writing at 12 UTC on December 9, 2022. The source is yet to be determined. There are eight labeled sunspot regions on the Earth-facing solar disk today.
Next 24 hours: The forecast is for an 85% chance for C flares, a 20% chance for M flares, and a 1% chance for X flares.
Next expected CME: No Earth-directed CMEs have been observed in the past day (or in recent days).
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet now. Earth’s geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet to unsettled for the rest of the day today and into December 10, as high-speed solar wind from a coronal hole continues to wane.
Sun activity December 8: Last night’s geomagnetic storm
The predicted G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm arrived on December 7-8, 2022. The threshold was reached at 13:04 UTC on December 7. Auroral displays were reported in Tromsø and Ny-Alesund in Norway. The large transequatorial coronal hole – producer of the high-speed solar wind that provoked this disturbance – has now decayed, but its effects will continue to arrive at Earth in the coming days. Did you see last night’s auroras? And did you see last night’s Mars occultation (photos here)? Submit your photos of the Earth and sky to EarthSky here.
Last 24 hours: Turning our eyes back to our star, sun activity is low. The long-lasting gorgeous prominence we reported earlier this week – on the southwest limb (edge) of the sun – slowly erupted with some plasma falling back to the sun and some flying into space. The enormous eruption was captured by GOES SUVI. In the past day, we also saw a small eruption happens in the northwest (animation below). There were nine C flares in the past day and five B flares. The largest was a C5.8 flare from AR3157 at 13 UTC on December 7, 2022. There are seven labeled sunspot regions on the Earth-facing solar disk today.
She took her time to come back to us from southern latitudes but when she did, she put on quite a show ???
— Night Lights | nightlights.eth (@NightLights_AM) December 7, 2022
Images of the stunning Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) taken in Norway…
— Pink Floyd – Steve®™? (@steve_sps) December 7, 2022
Sun activity December 7: Auroras predicted for tonight
NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center forecasts a G1 (minor) geomagnetic storm early December 8, due to high-speed solar wind from the large coronal hole on the sun. The forecast is for 3 UTC to 6 UTC on December 8 (Wednesday evening into Thursday morning in North America). The forecast is for possible auroral displays at latitudes like those in northern U.S. states such as Montana and Michigan. Remember, there’s also a full moon tonight, and bright red Mars will be near (or behind) the moon. And viewing the aurora in moonlight can be challenging. And it can be rewarding! Some great photos will likely be the result. Submit yours to EarthSky. Good luck, everyone!
Last 24 hours: Sun activity has been low in the past day, with only three C flares. The largest, a C1.3, came from AR3153 at 1 UTC on December 7. There are two newcomers on the northeast limb (edge), AR3159 and AR3160. There are seven labeled sunspot regions on the Earth-facing solar disk today.
Sun activity December 6: It’s a sun party
Sun activity is considered low, but things are happening! A long-lasting prominence – seen in the image above – danced on the sun all day yesterday and is still there at this writing (11 UTC on December 6, 2022). This prominence covers most of the sun’s southwest limb (edge). Is this unusual? Not really. Prominences have been known to last for several days, even up to several months! Or they can break apart (erupt) and cause coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Otherwise, on the sun today, there’s flaring in the northern hemisphere, plus erupting filaments and more prominences dancing around the solar limb (edge). See the animation below. And high-speed solar wind from that large equator-spanning coronal hole we’ve observed – which spans the sun’s northern and southern hemispheres – soon will reach Earth, provoking geomagnetic disturbances. G1 (minor) geomagnetic storms are expected by the end of the day on December 7, and for the following day. This may be an alert for aurora chasers. Get ready. Meanwhile, auroras have been reported in Alaska among other places (see the tweet below).
Last 24 hours: The past day has seen C flares only, seven total. And so sun activity is considered low. The largest flare, a C2.0, occurred at 17 UTC on December 6. It came from sunspot region AR3158. Sunspot regions AR3158 and AR3153 share the honor as the main flare producers of the past day. AR3153 is the largest active region on the sun today. There are five labeled sunspot regions on the Earth-facing solar disk.
Beamage! The Lady has arrived! Alaska Aurora ?? pic.twitter.com/2TCgYr9waB
— ?Angel Brise’ Alaska Adventurer? (@AngelBrise1) December 5, 2022
Sun activity December 5: Busy sun today
Sun activity has decreased to low with only C flares. But it’s busy on our star nonetheless! We currently have six numbered sunspot regions on the sun’s Earth-facing side that have produced 10 C flares. And there are at least three solar filaments that, if they erupt, would possibly produce Earth-directed CMEs. Finally, we have a transequatorial (equator-crossing) coronal hole near the central solar disk, whose location will soon be geoeffective, that is, positioned such that its high-speed solar wind will reach Earth in a few days. Now we wait to see if the sun will give us any larger flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) or if solar wind reaching Earth will instigate any auroras. Lots of exciting options! What will happen?
Last 24 hours: Sun activity was low over the past 24 hours. There were 10 C flares. The largest was a C9.0 – almost an M flare – from the new sunspot region, AR3158, at 7:04 UTC on December 5. AR3155 and AR3158 were the main flare producers. There are six labeled sunspot regions on the Earth-facing solar disk.
Next 24 hours: The forecast is for an 85% chance for C flares, a 20% chance for M flares, and a 5% chance for X flares.
Next expected CME: No Earth-directed CMEs have been observed in the past day.
Current geomagnetic activity: Quiet now. Conditions are expected to be quiet to unsettled for the rest of December 5 and quiet through December 6. Late on December 7, we could reach active levels with the onset of high-speed solar wind from a coronal hole that is rotating into a more geoeffective position.
To our readers and community
We invite you all to send us your beautiful recent photos of sunspots and auroras. We love receiving your photos! To those of you who’ve already posted a photo to our community, thank you.
Bottom line: Sun activity for December 9, 2022: Back to low. A mild geomagnetic storm was registered overnight last night.