Thursday, December 14, 2006

Magnetic Storming Continues

Looks like we're just going to have to get used to unstable conditions. Active region 930 continues to produce flares. A well-aimed coronal mass ejection from yesterday's X3 event reached the earth at 1400 UTC on the 14th, immediately pushing the planetary K index to 6, followed by 7. Such a short time from ejection to storm commencement indicates a very energetic event, and one that should intensify as the less energetic particles reach the Earth. Unfortunately, a coronal hole is also rotating into position, and will still be visible after region 930 finally rotates out.

An R2 radiation event forced astronauts on the Shuttle/ISS to go to a safe area of the station, as a precaution in case it intensified. Fortunately, it did not. Last I heard, today's EVA is still on.

Auroral propagation fans, or those who just want to watch the pretty show, should have an interesting night tonight. The usual precautions are being taken by pipeline and power grid operators.

The WWV Geoalert predicts a severe geomagnetic storm event. Here's a recent message:

:Product: Geophysical Alert Message wwv.txt
:Issued: 2006 Dec 14 1810 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Environment Center
# Geophysical Alert Message
Solar-terrestrial indices for 13 December follow.
Solar flux 94 and mid-latitude A-index 8.
The mid-latitude K-index at 1800 UTC on 14 December was 6 (122 nT).

Space weather for the past 24 hours has been moderate.
Geomagnetic storms reaching the G2 level occurred.
Solar radiation storms reaching the S2 level occurred.

Space weather for the next 24 hours is expected to be severe.
Geomagnetic storms reaching the G4 level are expected.
Solar radiation storms reaching the S1 level are expected.
Radio blackouts reaching the R2 level are expected.