Space Weather

December 21, 2021

Aurora Alert for December 23, After M-class Flares

[Alex on EARTHSKY.ORG] There’s been a small uptick in solar activity over the past two days (December 20 and 21, 2021). The increase comes from the fact that nine sunspot groups (active regions or AR) now pepper the visible face of the sun.
November 15, 2021

The Carrington Flare

On September 1st, 1859, (161 years ago today) a 33-year-old astronomer called Richard Carrington, working at an observatory in Surrey, England, went about his daily duties of sketching the peculiar dark spots that he had been witnessing transiting the Sun.
November 4, 2021

Aurora Alert! CME Impacting Earth Arriving November 4, 2021

[Alex on EARTHSKY.ORG] Aurora alert in effect for the next few days: the sun sent out a halo coronal mass ejection on November 2, 2021, due to arrive at Earth on November 4.
February 8, 2021

Happy 1st Anniversary Solar Orbiter – The Science is Just Beginning

February 9, 2021 marks the one year anniversary of the launch of the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter Mission. It was launched from Kennedy Space Center at 11:03 pm ET on February 9, 2020. This mission is a single spacecraft designed with
October 28, 2018

X17 Solar Flare and Solar Storm of October 28, 2003

On this day in 2003 (October 28), the Sun unleashed one of the largest and most geoeffective solar storms of the modern age (and consequently, one of the most studied).
March 2, 2015

NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission: Studying magnetic fields around the Earth

By looking close to home, NASA’s newest mission with provide a window to the universe. Countdown to MMS Launch [ujicountdown id=”Countdown to MMS Launch” expire=”2015/03/12 22:44″ hide=”” url=”” subscr=””] The Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission was created to study how magnetic
December 9, 2014

Be an Aurora Hunter!

Do you want to be an Aurora Hunter but have no idea how to get started? (LINKS UPDATED BELOW) Now you can be one through Aurorasaurus – be part of a grand experiment “Reporting Auroras from the Ground Up.” Join
October 23, 2014

AR12192: Biggest Sunspot of Two Solar Cycles!

As of October 23, 2014, AR12192 is now the Biggest sunspot in 2 solar cycles. Just yesterday it reached the rank of largest sunspot in cycle 24. The sunspot measures a whopping 2700 microhemispheres (MH or millionths of a visible
October 22, 2014

Another X-flare from AR12192

14:28 UT – Flare peaked in GOES X-rays at X1.6   14:17 UT – The flare is still in progress but at the X1.4 level. NOAA/SWPC issued a R3 (out of 5) radio blackout (Wide area blackout of HF (high
September 12, 2014

The Small Storm Before the Big Storm?

UPDATE #4 (13:30 UT 9/13)) – The storm is subsiding but beautiful aurora were had by many. Even down to the northern US like Maine. “I took the picture from Casco, Maine, facing north towards the Presidential Range in New Hampshire,”
September 10, 2014

AR12158 Gives Away an X-flare and CME

AR12158 produced an X1.6 flare along with a coronal mass ejection. The flare peaked in X-rays at 17:45 UT. 18:20 UT (9/11/2014) – This movie is a difference movie created by Dr. Nariaki Nitta (@halocme) from the Lockheed Martin Solar and
September 2, 2014

A Dazzling Eruption Captured by STEREO Behind

SDO and SOHO were not the only spacecraft to capture the spectacular eruption off the East (left) limb of the sun on August 24, 2014. The M5.9 flare (at 12:17 UT) from AR 12151 was seen by the STEREO SECCHI
July 8, 2014

Another M-flare from AR12113

01:22 UT – AR12113 produced an M1.2 flare that peaked in GOES X-ray at 00:26 UT Type II radio emission was detected at 00:29 UT. This emission is associated with a solar eruption and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection
July 8, 2014

AR12113 Erupts with an M6.5 Flare

03:11 UT – Space Weather researchers at NASA/GSFC have determined the CME may affect Mars and Spitzer as well as possibly glance Earth. The CME has an estimated speed of 725 km/s. Below is a computer model showing the CMEs
June 30, 2014

Solar Activity May Soon Be on the Rise

The active sun is rotating into view, that could mean there is solar fun to come. For the past 2 weeks that sun has been a bit quiet but that is only because the regions of current solar activity were
June 12, 2014

A CME Impact at Earth – Maybe?

NOAA active region AR12087 began making its activity apparent in SDO well before it became visible on the Earth facing solar disk. Solar flares from the region became visible in the first week of June. On June 10, the region
June 10, 2014

Double X! AR12087 Produces Back-to-back X Flares

Just after the X2.2 AR12087 let out an X1.5 flare peaking at 12:52 UT. Here is a snapshot of the event using the SDO/AIA 131 angstrom channel. This shows plasmas with temperatures up to about 10 million Kelvin. The
June 10, 2014

X2.2 Solar Flare from New Region on Southeast Limb

12:05 UT – X flare!! An X2.2 solar flare from a new region (AR12087) on the southeast limb is underway. The flare peaked in x-rays around 11:42 UT. Here is a snapshot from the SDO/AIA 94 angstrom channel with the
June 9, 2014

Geomagnetic Storm and Aurora from Brush with CME

High latitude observers treated with spectacular aurora June 8 and June 9th. The CME that glanced Earth’s magnetosphere on June 7 started a minor geomagnetic disturbance just after the impact that grew into a G1 then G2 level geomagnetic storm
June 6, 2014

Possible Glancing Blow CME

The slow CME produced by the giant filament eruption from June 4 could give Earth a glancing blow. The impact should be very weak but there could be a minor geomagnetic enhancement on June 7. High latitude aurora watchers may
February 19, 2014

Geomagnetic Storm and Aurora from Valentine’s Weekend CME

A CME from February 16, 2014 has impacted Earth. The CME’s magnetic structure was such that it stirred things up in the magnetosphere.   A significant interplanetary shock detected by ACE at L1 at 3:10 UT, February 19, 2014.   The
February 14, 2014

Waiting for an Aurora Valentine

3 CMEs are headed for Earth with the first impact expected late on Feb. 14, 2014 for some Valentine’s day and weekend aurora! Space weather forecasters are waiting to see what is in store for this weekend. Three separate CMEs
February 12, 2014

Current Solar Rumblings and Valentine’s Day Aurora

A whole lot of spots going on! We no longer have the rumbling region AR11967 but the solar disk is covered with smaller regions and AR11974 is sitting at disk center popping of lots of small and medium-sized flares. It
February 1, 2014

AR11967 Continues its Flaring and AR11968 Sends a CME Our Way

 There are two main active regions (ARs 11967/11968) on the sun and both are giving a moderate show. AR11967 continues to produce C- and M-level events, including an M3.0 flare at 07:14 UT Feb. 1, 2014. The region continues to show signs
January 31, 2014

Possible Glancing Blow from M6.6 Associated CME

CME may impact Earth on Feb. 2, 2014 according to NASA SWRC research models. At 16:11 UT Jan. 30, 2014, an M6.6 flare from AR11967 peaked in the GOES X-ray monitor. This was about 15 minutes after the completion of an
October 30, 2013

A Whole Lot Happening on the Sun – In Many Types of Light

The sun has been really active lately. SDO gives us an amazing view of this activity in many different wavelengths of light. This also shows us the sun’s atmosphere in many temperatures ranging from ~4500 Kelvin or 7600 degrees Fahrenheit
October 25, 2013

X Marks the New Spot! (Updated)

The newest active region on the sun has given us an X-flare and a CME! 15:10 UT (10/25/2013) X again! AR11882 kicked it up again with an X2.1 peaking at 15:03 UT. A multi-million degree snapshot with SDO/AIA 94 angstrom.
September 30, 2013

Spectacular Erupting Filament with Earth-directed Space Weather

A huge filament erupted from the sun producing a beautiful coronal mass ejection (CME) and solar energetic particle event. Around 21 UT, 9/29/2013 a filament erupted from the northwest quadrant of the sun. It started from the surface with a
August 22, 2013

Slow Earth-directed Halo CME

This time a CME is headed directly for us! Around 5:24 UT (1:24 EDT), the SOHO/LASCO C2 instrument caught a first glimpse at a CME leaving the sun directly for Earth. The CME is traveling at a fairly slow ~610
August 20, 2013

Aurora Ahead? – Filament Eruption with an Earth-directed CME

There may be a geomagnetic storm in store for Earth. Lookout aurora watchers! A filament ~50 Earths in length (~400,000 miles) erupted from the Sun’s southern hemisphere in the southwest direction around 7:24 UT (4:24 am EDT). The eruption produced
August 17, 2013

M3.3 Solar Flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection

A long duration M3.3 flare with a beautiful eruption and CME! Active region AR11818 produced a flare peaking in X-ray at 18:24 UT (2:24 pm EDT). The eruption produced extended X-ray emission with another flare, ~M1.5 after the initial eruption
May 29, 2013

Giant Hole in the Solar Corona!

Aptly enough, we call these coronal holes. These dark patches in the sun million plus degree corona are areas where the solar atmosphere rapidly streams away from the sun. This stream of particles from the solar atmosphere is called the
May 27, 2013

Filament Eruption Sends CME Headed Towards STEREO Ahead and Mars

A filament erupted on the backside of the sun and was observed by the EUVI instrument on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft. The eruption produced a CME detected by STEREO-A COR2, STEREO-B COR2 and SOHO LASCO C3 around 19:24 UT, May
May 22, 2013

M5+ Solar Flare from Filament Eruption (Updated)

21:21 UT (5/23/2013) – Proton levels the eruption are still at the S2 NOAA alert level, down from S3. The particles are very apparent in SOHO/LASCO C2, showing up as “snow” on the images. 1:17 UT (5/23/2013) – Currently, a S2
May 17, 2013

Wiggling Loops from 4 Flares – May 13 – 16, 2013

Wiggly Jiggly Loops by 4 flares from an evolving sunspot AR11748 showed us some exciting yet basically benign activity. A little image processing helps us really see certain aspects of the activity. Keep an eye out for wiggling loops set
May 14, 2013

AR11748 Releases Yet Another X Flare – X1.2

The active region that could, has again given us an X flare! That makes 4! 12:15 UT – The NASA GSFC Space Weather Research Center has estimated that the CME may give a glancing blow to Epoxi (~5/18/2013 06:00 UT) and
May 13, 2013

Three’s a Charm! Another X Flare!

The unnamed region on the east limb has produced a 3rd X-class flare! (Updated) 11:44 UT – The NASA GSFC Space Weather Research Center has estimated that the CME will merge with CMEs associated with the 2 X-flares (X1.7 and X2.8) and may give a
April 12, 2013

A Decent Threefer Solar Eruption – Flare, CME and Particle Storm

M6.5 solar flare, Earth-bound CME and a particle storm! AR11719 produced the largest flare of the year, an M6.5, peaking in GOES X-ray at 7:16 UT on April 11. First, we have a snapshot of the flare from the SDO/AIA
March 16, 2013

Waiting for a St. Patrick’s Day Aurora

Look at for Aurora tonight and tomorrow at high latitudes! Yesterday’s coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to sweep past Earth in the last half of today (March 16, 2013) sometime around 18UT (+- 7-8 hours). Forecasts are from minor
February 28, 2013

Van Allen Probes Discover a 3rd Radiation Belt around Earth

Learn about this new result in a video by NASA Goddard Heliophysics Division. NASA presented these results at a press conference today. Tomorrow I will be on a Google Hangout with several of my colleagues at NASA Goddard. Ask
February 21, 2013

A Spot with Potential

A sunspot region with potential, AR11678! Yes pun intended. This solar active region (AR for short) has emerged suddenly from under the solar photosphere (the visible “surface”) packed with magnetic potential energy and the potential for some significant flaring. It
January 24, 2013

Two CMEs Including One Earth Directed

  Two solar filaments lifted off the sun in beautiful eruptions on January 23, 2013. Both eruptions produced coronal mass ejections or CMEs observed with the SOHO LASCO C2 coronagraph at 3:12 UT and 14:12 UT respectively.   The first
November 8, 2012

Two Non-Earthbound CMEs May Impact Mars and Several Spacecraft

Two CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) occurred in the early hours of November 8, 2012 (UT), the later one a more significant, O-type CME. The 2 CMEs are denoted with red arrows in this snapshot from the NASA Space Weather Research Center (SWRC)
October 10, 2012

The Sun Today for October 10, 2012

  Two new active regions could bring solar activity, one numbered (AR11589) and one not yet on the solar disk. Based on recent activity M class flares are possible from both. The region just over the limb produced an M1
July 12, 2012

Earth Bound CME Predicted with X1 Flare Event

Possible Moderate to Severe Geomagnetic Storm Sunspot group, AR11520, produced an X1.4 solar flare, peaking in the NOAA GOES X-ray monitor at 16:52 UT (12:52 EDT). This flash of electromagnetic radiation temporarily altered the upper atmosphere changing its ability to
April 23, 2012

A Little Flare & Some Geomagnetic Activity – April 23, 2012

At 17:40 UT, the Sun produced a C2 solar flare with a radio burst and a SCORE-C CME.  NASA Goddard Space Weather Center predicts it will reach Earth 4/27/2012 at 5:49 UT with only minor impact. Currently, there is a
March 14, 2012

It Just Won’t Quit! More from AR11429!

  Sunspot group or active region AR11429 has almost rotated out of view but it still had enough energy to release an M7.9 X-ray solar flare, a fast coronal mass ejection (CME) and a solar energetic particle event (SEP). A
March 11, 2012

More Geomagnetic Storms Predicted for March 11, 2012

    CMEs are on their way to us! Estimated impact is March 11, 2012 around 2-3 PM EDT. High latitude aurora watchers keep lookout the night of March 11, 2012. On March 10, 2012, the sun produced 1 C-class
March 9, 2012

Geomagnetic Storm Picks Up! And AR11429 Flares Again!

      Nature never ceases to surprise and amaze. Just when it looked like the geomagnetic storm from yesterdays CME impacts had fizzled out, Earth’s magnetosphere continues its upset state. Even before the Kp index (a measure of the
March 7, 2012

Double Blast – Exciting Space Weather from AR11429

Sunspot group, AR11429 (Active Region), is at it again. When it first began its journey across the Earthward side of the Sun it released an M-class flare, an X-class flare and several more M flares, along with several CMEs. Early
March 5, 2012

3 Days of AR11429 – Lots of Activity

Sunspot group AR11429! Here is a look at AR11429 from Friday to today showing the 2 M-class and 1 X-class flare blasting away from the Sun. In addition to those events and their associated CMEs there is a lot of
February 6, 2012

Happy 10th RHESSI!

Ten years ago yesterday (5 February 2002) saw the launch of the Reuven Ramaty High-Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager, or RHESSI (pronounced reh-see). RHESSI was designed to study particle acceleration and energy transport during solar flares by observing the highest energy
November 3, 2011

The Spot Marks X!

      Sunspot group AR11339 (AR stands for Active Region) has just rotated onto the Earth facing disk of the Sun. Before coming completely into view the region had produced two M flares in 24 hours (an M4.3 flare
October 26, 2011

Anatomy of a Geomagnetic Storm – What made that great Aurora?

  Saturday, October 22, 2011, started like most any other day, lots of activity of varying size and shape was occurring on the Sun. Most people looking at the Sun that day remember the spectacular lightbulb shaped CME that occurred
October 26, 2011

Happy 5th STEREO!

    A spectacular filament eruption from June 7, 2011 captured by the STEREO Ahead spacecraft with EUVI 304, Cor1 and Cor2. Happy Birthday STEREO!! October 26 ,2011 is the 5th anniversary of the launch of the STEREO mission and
September 6, 2011

M5 flare and a CME to the Side

  At 01:50 UT, sunspot group, AR11283, produced an M5 solar flare and CME (coronal mass ejection) from near the center of the solar disk. The CME  appears to be moving at an angle away from a path straight towards
August 28, 2011

Sunday CME – Activity on 28 August 2011

Well, it has been a fairly quiet couple of weeks since all the activity at the beginning of the month. Early in the morning of 28 August 2011, a small filament erupted with an associated B-class solar flare. Here is
June 7, 2011

A Spectacular Event – A Filament/Prominence Eruption to Blow Your Socks Off!

A solar flare, coronal wave, filament eruption, coronal rain & a coronal mass ejection (CME)!
May 23, 2011

A Prominence Breaks Free (SOHO Pick of the Week – May 20, 2011)

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft observed as a photogenic, solar prominence erupted and broke out into space over about 18-hour period (May 13, 2011). Prominences, notoriously unstable structures, are cooler clouds of gas that float above the Sun’s surface, tethered there
February 8, 2011

Seeing the Sun in a Whole New Light

NASA Spacecrafts Provide Never Before Seen 360° View of Sun On Super Bowl Sunday NASA’s STEREO spacecrafts captured something no one has ever seen before, a view of the entire sun. This first ever 360-degree picture of the sun will
January 16, 2011

When the Sun has Holes We Often Get Aurora

Two coronal holes that develop over several days stand out in this image and video clip of the Sun from SDO’s AIA instrument (Jan. 9-12, 2010). In the extreme UV wavelength of 193 Angstroms, one dark coronal hole intensifies just
January 10, 2011

Solar Desktop Wallpapers

We have reached the milestone of 1000 Fans on our FaceBook page! As promised, we have been preparing a small treat for all of you as a sign of appreciation for making the TheSunToday page such a great success in
December 21, 2010

A CME Triple Play

SOHO’s LASCO C2 and C3 coronagraphs caught the action as three, separate coronal mass ejections (CMEs) blasted out in succession from the Sun (Dec. 12, 2010). These were each distinct and unconnected events. The first CME event (directly on the
December 12, 2010

Epic Solar Filament Eruption from Dec. 6, 2010 Seen by STEREO

A very long solar filament that had been snaking around the Sun erupted (Dec. 6, 2010) with a flourish. STEREO (Behind) caught the action in dramatic detail in extreme ultraviolet light of Helium. It had been almost a million km
December 2, 2010

Happy Birthday SOHO!! 15 Years!!

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory or SOHO is by many accounts the granddaddy of modern solar astronomy. SOHO is not the first space based solar observatory but it has truly ushered in a golden age for solar physics. The mission
December 1, 2010

Seven-Day Sun

For seven days SDO’s HMI instrument watched as a small sunspot group morphed, merged and grew into two large sunspots (Nov. 13-19, 2010) as other sunspots begin to emerge as well. We selected an image about every 15 minutes (approximately
October 18, 2010

A Small Flare and Eruption from a Giant Filament

A giant filament on the sun produced a small eruption and flare.
October 18, 2010

A Twisting Solar Prominence (SOHO Pick of the Week)

The STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft caught this tumultuous solar prominence as it twisted and turned over about 18 hours, as seen in profile above the Sun?s surface, before disappearing (Oct. 8, 2010). The cloud of cooler gases, suspended by magnetic forces,
October 11, 2010

Increased Auroral Activity Oct. 11-12 from a Halo CME Oct. 6, 2010

Around 3:30 UT on October 6, 2010 a filament erupted in the northeast part of the solar disk (upper left area). Moving at around 375 km/s (850,000 miles per hour) the CME combined with the ambient solar wind then over
October 7, 2010

A Solar Eruption as the Earth Blocks SDO’s View of the Sun

A filament erupted in the NE area of the sun. The eruption was observed by SDO and the associated Halo CME was seen by SOHO's C2 and C3 coronagraphs. SDO is currently in eclipse season so during this event the earth moved between SDO and the sun, moving across the sun for a few minutes.
October 5, 2010

The Launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (Part 2)

Thursday morning seemed to take longer to arrive. Expectations were certainly higher, based in no small part on the fact that most of us had flights booked to take us home later that day. Washington DC had just gotten its
October 4, 2010

A Solar Active Region’s Parting Flare

Solar sunspot group, active region (AR) 11109, is rotating out of view over the western limb of the sun. As it was moving out of the view of the earth and SDO it produced a C-class (C2.3) solar flare at
October 1, 2010

The Launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (Part 1)

Getting out of Washington DC was not going to be easy. The city was bracing itself for the biggest snowstorm in almost a century over the weekend. The launch of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO; the first mission from NASA’s
September 22, 2010

3D Visualization of a Coronal Mass Ejection

Our good friends and colleagues at Trinity College Dublin have created a 3D visualization of the propagation of a coronal mass ejection (CME). Using multiscale image processing and 3D visualization the team reconstructed the trajectory of an earth-directed CME observed
September 9, 2010

Solar Active Region’s Farewell Blasts

Just as sunspot group AR11105 rotated out of the Earth’s view it produced a spectacular show. A large prominence erupted along with a C3 solar flare and a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) blasted away from the sun. This great show
September 9, 2010

Solar Eruptions with STEREO Ahead

A View of the Active Sun with EUVI, COR1 and COR2 A very busy active region popped off about ten blasts of solar material over a two-day period (Aug. 31- Sept. 2, 2010). With this composited image and movie three