Incoming CME could spark bright auroras over Polar Circle

incoming-cme-could-spark-bright-auroras-over-polar-circle

According to the latest WSA-Enlil Solar Wind Prediction track, the CME from Thursday may deliver a glancing blow late on April 8th. Only minor geomagnetic activity is expected as a majority of the plasma cloud will miss Earth. (Check this animation). NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of strong geomagnetic storms around the poles on April 8-9 when a CME delivers a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field. The cloud was propelled in our direction by a solar filament, which erupted on April 5th.

Solar activity is currently low. Sunspot 1450 will be rotating towards the western limb within the next couple of days. Sunspot 1452 is struggling to remain visible. There is currently a chance for C-Class flares.

Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity (06 Apr 2012)

Solar activity was at low levels for the past 24 hours. Region 1450 (N16W45) produced a long duration C1/Sf flare that peaked at 05/2110Z. SOHO/LASCO C2 imagery observed a partial halo CME at 05/2125Z. Associated Type II and Type IV radio sweeps were also observed with an estimated shock speed for the Type II of 360 km/s. Solar activity is expected to be low with C-class flares expected for the next three days (07-09 April).

The geomagnetic field was quiet for the past 24 hours. The geomagnetic field is expected to be quiet on day one (07 April). Unsettled levels are expected on days two and three (08-09 April) with a chance for isolated active levels due to the anticipated arrival of the CME from Region 1450 and the recurrent coronal hole high speed stream. The latest model run shows the CME to be potentially geoeffective with an estimated speed of 845 km/s and is expected to arrive late on the 08th/early on the 09th of April.

Aurora forecast

On April 6-7, parts of the high Arctic Circle were alight with auroras so bright even the full Moon couldn’t overwhelm them. More auroras are possible on April 8th and 9th when a CME is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. NOAA forecasters estimate a 25% chance of strong geomagnetic storms around the poles.

Featured image: Aurora over Ivujivik Nunavik in Canada (Credit: Gilles Boutin)

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