Moderate to high solar activity with possible geomagnetic disturbances


Solar activity has been at moderate to high levels for the past 24 hours. AR1652 produced two M-class and 8 C-class solar flares  in the past 24 hours, and it has rapidly evolved to a compact beta-gamma-delta configuration. This active region erupted M1.0 flare at 00:50 UTC, followed by M1.7 solar flare at 08:38 UTC on January 13, 2013.

Solar X-Ray flux (Credit: NOAA/SWPC)


The second (M1.7) eruption was associated with a metric Type II and IV radio emissions. Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the Sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection (CME) is associated with a flare event. Type IV emissions occur in association with major eruptions on the Sun and are typically associated with strong coronal mass ejections and solar radiation storms. Both flares were quite impulsive with no obvious CME signatures. If this is confirmed, geomagnetic conditions should be mostly quiet during the next 48 hours, but due to the risk of a geoeffective CME, warning conditions are issued.

Current visible active regions (Credit: SDO/AIA304)


There are currently six numbered sunspots on the visible disk. Sunspots AR1652 and AR1654 have beta-gamma magnetic fields that have the potential for M-class flares, with a small risk of an X-class flare from AR1654. Huge sunspot group AR 1654 is crackling with C- and M-class solar flares, and it poses a threat for even stronger eruptions. NOAA/SWPC forecasters estimate a 65% chances of M-class and 10% chance of X-class solar flares in the next 24 hours. There are no large coronal holes on the Earthside of the Sun.

Satellite Environment plot –  Proton Flux from GOES-13, Electron Flux and GOES Hp from GOES-13 and GOES-15 (Credit: NOAA/SWPC)


Earth is entering a stream of moderately fast (500 km/s) solar wind stream which could spark some geomagnetic activity. The geomagnetic field has been at quiet to unsettled levels for the past 24 hours. Solar wind speed, as measured by the ACE spacecraft, reached a peak speed of 511 km/s at 20:43 UTC on January 13, 2013. Total IMF reached 11.1 nT and the maximum southward component of Bz reached -8.3 nT.

NOAA/SWPC forecasters estimate 15% chances for geomagnetic disturbances at high latitudes in the coming hours. Weak or minor degradation of HF radio communication is possible on sunlit side with occasional loss of radio contact and degradation of low-frequency navigation signals for brief intervals. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

Aurora forecast (Credit: NOA/POES)



Solar wind
speed: 518.8 km/sec
density: 3.1 protons/cm3

The Radio Sun
10.7 cm flux: 169 sfu

Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3 quiet

Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal6.8 nT
Bz2.5 nT south

Featured image credit: The Watchers (SDO/SOHO’s LASCO C2)

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  1. I’m just wondering if there are any reports of solar flares in Michigan. About 10 minutes ago 2:20am I was looking out my window and I saw what looked like a star falling to earth. It looked like a ball of light but I never heard a crash and the power is still on. It was the weirdest thing. It didn’t look too far away.

  2. At the beginning of 2013 the folks at “the Watchers” posted that this year would be fairly uneventful. Now it’s two weeks into the year and we have had four M-class flares, eight C-class flares in one day, and now the drudgereport has a hyper link to this site regarding the possible geomagnetic disturbances.

    Yes, this will all work out and it’s no cause for alarm. However, why in the name of heaven did your editors say 2013 was going to be uneventful?

    1. Hi Bill! There is no knowing if this year will be eventfull or uneventfull.

      Here is piece of text that I reccomend you to read all over again, this time slowly;

      “NASA predicts that solar cycle 24 will peak in early or mid 2013 with about 59 sunspots. This would make it the least active cycle in the past one hundred years. The International Space Environment Service predicts the cycle to peak at 90 sunspots in May 2013. The current solar cycle is currently the subject of research, as it does not appear to be generating sunspots in the manner which would be expected. So far, Solar Cycle 24 is underperforming even compared to the NOAA-led Solar Cycle Prediction Panel‘s low expectations. There is still a strong chance that Cycle 24 will rebound and peak in 2013 as expected.”

      Cheers, and take it easy!

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