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 Space Weather / Aurora Hunting - Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:21:00 +0000 UTC

Sunset Aurora Oval The Moon
Sun Sun Sun
in 11 hours, 6 minutes
3% Illuminated
2 hours ago
06:30
    4       ?       ?   
Kp Now: 4 N/A N/A
Field

Polarity
   Solar Wind: 475.1 km/s
24hr Max: 477.1 km/s
24hr Min: 452.8 km/s
Proton Density: 5.8 p/cc
Bz: 5.4 nT
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 Predicted Kp Levels Predicted Storm Probability Predicted Flare Probability
  Wed Thu Fri
0000222
0300332
0600322
1800221
2100322
  Wed Thu Fri
Active30%10%10%
Minor Storm10%1%5%
Major Storm1%1%1%
  Wed Thu Fri
M Class15%15%15%
X Class1%1%1%


What does this data mean?

The Sun

The images of the sun are downloaded from the Solar Dynamics Observatory they show how the sun looks when viewed through different wavelengths of light.
This is useful because it helps us to pinpoint where there is a lot of energy being released (sunspots).
Sunspots aid our chances of seeing the Northern Lights because they can often result in Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections

The Aurora Oval

The Aurora Oval is the latest data from the NOAA POES satellite.
The Yellow/Orange/Red ring in the image shows where the visible aurora is likely to be seen at this moment.
When there is a disturbance in the geomagnetic field surrounding the earth the aurora oval stretches down toward the equator.

The Kp Level

The Kp Index indicates how disturbed the geomagnetic field surrounding the earth is.
We can use the Kp level to determine what the likely chances of seeing the northern lights are.
In the Scottish Borders we are looking for at least a level of Kp5 to start seeing the northern lights.

The Forecast Kp Level

The forecast for solar activity is downloaded periodically from the Space Weather Prediction Center.
Like a weather model, the SWPC use a variety of data fed into the Costello Model to predict the likely Kp level.
The forecast may sometimes be out of date because sometimes the model is run with limited data and we therefore ignore it's prediction.