Solar Section        


September 6, 2014

TESIS- The Sun Shines for Everyone

The TESIS page is a very good page for watching of solar flares, and keeping in touch with all Geomagnetic happenings on the sun.


From the TESIS website:

The TESIS includes five space instruments:

MgXII Imaging Spectroheliometer (MISH) with spherical bent crystal mirror, for observations of the Sun in the monochromatic MgXII 8.42 A line
EUV Spectoheliometer (EUSH) with grazing incidence diffraction grating, for the registration of full solar discs in monochromatic lines of the spectral band 280–330 A
Two Full-disk EUV Telescopes (FET) with multilayer mirrors covering the band 130-136 A and 290-320 A
Solar EUV Coronagraph (SEC), based on the Ritchey-Chretien scheme, to observe the inner and outer solar corona from 0.2 to 4 solar radii in spectral band 290-320 A
X-ray photometer-spectroheliometer SphinX, designed by the Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Science


August 20, 2014

Daily Bulletin on Solar and Geomagnetic activity from the SIDC

:Issued: 2014 Aug 20 0945 UTC
:P roduct: documentation at
# (RWC Belgium) #
SIDC FORECAST (valid from 1230UT, 20 Aug 2014 until 22 Aug 2014)
SOLAR FLARES : Eruptive (C-class flares expected, probability >=50%)
GEOMAGNETISM : Quiet (A<20 and K<4)
PREDICTIONS FOR 20 Aug 2014 10CM FLUX: 113 / AP: 004
PREDICTIONS FOR 21 Aug 2014 10CM FLUX: 115 / AP: 004
PREDICTIONS FOR 22 Aug 2014 10CM FLUX: 117 / AP: 004
COMMENT: There are 6 active regions on the visible side of the solar disk.
Only NOAA AR 12146 (in NE quadrant) has shown a significant growth in the
past 24 hours. We expect it will push up solar activity to C-class flaring
levels, though further growth in size, complexity and thus flaring levels
cannot be excluded. Note also that flaring activity is observed from behind
the NE solar limb. Quiet geomagnetic conditions are expected in the coming
3 days: there are no high speed wind streams expected from coronal holes,
nor are there any new CMEs on the way to the Earth. The arrival yesterday
(Aug 19) of the Aug 15 CME resulted in a Kp=6 episode. The Bz component of
the IMF has now turned fully Northward, thereby ending the geomagnetic




# Solar Influences Data analysis Center – RWC Belgium #
# Royal Observatory of Belgium #
# Fax : 32 (0) 2 373 0 224 #
# Tel.: 32 (0) 2 373 0 491 #


December 21, 2013

APOD Picture of the Day

What a wonderful image of the sun in all wavelengths by SDO & NASA

SDO's Multiwavelength Sun


July 27, 2013

The Weakest Solar Cycle in 100 Years





This from the this month’s meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division.


March 1, 2013

ASA Science News for March 1, 2013

Something unexpected is happening on the sun. 2013 is supposed to be the year of Solar Max, but solar activity is lower than expected. At least one leading forecaster expects the sun to rebound with a double-peaked maximum later this year.




February 16, 2013

Solar Storm Watchers from Zooniverse Team

Greetings Stormwatchers!
Remember all that data analysis you’ve been doing at All those storms you’ve tracked have now been used to create an animation of what the Sun has been up to over the first three years of the STEREO mission. It’s amazing! You can now see the constant stream of solar wind material as it erupts into space and even the spirals created as the various sources of solar wind rotate with the Sun. And when a solar storm erupts, you can see which planets are in the firing line! Watch the video and read more on the blog at

In other news, the BBC are making a documentary about the Sun and would like to feature Solar Stormwatch, including a small group of volunteers. They will be filming at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in Oxfordshire in the UK ( Filming is going to take place either February 28 or March 1 2013 (date to be confirmed).

If you are a UK-based Solar Stormwatch volunteer and would like to be part of the documentary please email with the subject heading ‘SSW Documentary’ and we’ll forward your message on to the BBC. Unfortunately the BBC cannot pay travel expenses but if you can get to RAL they guarantee a good day out! There is more information on the Solar Stormwatch blog:

This is a great opportunity to promote Solar Stormwatch and get even more involved in solar science.


February 2, 2013

Solar Variability and terrestrial Climate

Jan. 8, 2013: In the galactic scheme of things, the Sun is a remarkably constant star. While some stars exhibit dramatic pulsations, wildly yo-yoing in size and brightness, and sometimes even exploding, the luminosity of our own sun varies a measly 0.1% over the course of the 11-year solar cycle.

There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate. A new report issued by the National Research Council (NRC), “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” lays out some of the surprisingly complex ways that solar activity can make itself felt on our planet.

Understanding the sun-climate connection requires a breadth of expertise in fields such as plasma physics, solar activity, atmospheric chemistry and fluid dynamics, energetic particle physics, and even terrestrial history. No single researcher has the full range of knowledge required to solve the problem. To make progress, the NRC had to assemble dozens of experts from many fields at a single workshop. The report summarizes their combined efforts to frame the problem in a truly multi-disciplinary context.

One of the participants, Greg Kopp of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, pointed out that while the variations in luminosity over the 11-year solar cycle amount to only a tenth of a percent of the sun’s total output, such a small fraction is still important. “Even typical short term variations of 0.1% in incident irradiance exceed all other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth’s core) combined,” he says.

Of particular importance is the sun’s extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, which peaks during the years around solar maximum. Within the relatively narrow band of EUV wavelengths, the sun’s output varies not by a minuscule 0.1%, but by whopping factors of 10 or more. This can strongly affect the chemistry and thermal structure of the upper atmosphere.

Several researchers discussed how changes in the upper atmosphere can trickle down to Earth’s surface. There are many “top-down” pathways for the sun’s influence. For instance, Charles Jackman of the Goddard Space Flight Center described how nitrogen oxides (NOx) created by solar energetic particles and cosmic rays in the stratosphere could reduce ozone levels by a few percent. Because ozone absorbs UV radiation, less ozone means that more UV rays from the sun would reach Earth’s surface.

Isaac Held of NOAA took this one step further. He described how loss of ozone in the stratosphere could alter the dynamics of the atmosphere below it. “The cooling of the polar stratosphere associated with loss of ozone increases the horizontal temperature gradient near the tropopause,” he explains. “This alters the flux of angular momentum by mid-latitude eddies. [Angular momentum is important because] the angular momentum budget of the troposphere controls the surface westerlies.” In other words, solar activity felt in the upper atmosphere can, through a complicated series of influences, push surface storm tracks off course.

Many of the mechanisms proposed at the workshop had a Rube Goldberg-like quality. They relied on multi-step interactions between multiples layers of atmosphere and ocean, some relying on chemistry to get their work done, others leaning on thermodynamics or fluid physics. But just because something is complicated doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Indeed, Gerald Meehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) presented persuasive evidence that solar variability is leaving an imprint on climate, especially in the Pacific. According to the report, when researchers look at sea surface temperature data during sunspot peak years, the tropical Pacific shows a pronounced La Nina-like pattern, with a cooling of almost 1o C in the equatorial eastern Pacific. In addition, “there are signs of enhanced precipitation in the Pacific ITCZ (Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone ) and SPCZ (South Pacific Convergence Zone) as well as above-normal sea-level pressure in the mid-latitude North and South Pacific,” correlated with peaks in the sunspot cycle.

The solar cycle signals are so strong in the Pacific, that Meehl and colleagues have begun to wonder if something in the Pacific climate system is acting to amplify them. “One of the mysteries regarding Earth’s climate system … is how the relatively small fluctuations of the 11-year solar cycle can produce the magnitude of the observed climate signals in the tropical Pacific.” Using supercomputer models of climate, they show that not only “top-down” but also “bottom-up” mechanisms involving atmosphere-ocean interactions are required to amplify solar forcing at the surface of the Pacific.

In recent years, researchers have considered the possibility that the sun plays a role in global warming. After all, the sun is the main source of heat for our planet. The NRC report suggests, however, that the influence of solar variability is more regional than global. The Pacific region is only one example.

Caspar Amman of NCAR noted in the report that “When Earth’s radiative balance is altered, as in the case of a chance in solar cycle forcing, not all locations are affected equally. The equatorial central Pacific is generally cooler, the runoff from rivers in Peru is reduced, and drier conditions affect the western USA.”

Raymond Bradley of UMass, who has studied historical records of solar activity imprinted by radioisotopes in tree rings and ice cores, says that regional rainfall seems to be more affected than temperature. “If there is indeed a solar effect on climate, it is manifested by changes in general circulation rather than in a direct temperature signal.” This fits in with the conclusion of the IPCC and previous NRC reports that solar variability is NOT the cause of global warming over the last 50 years.

Much has been made of the probable connection between the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year deficit of sunspots in the late 17th-early 18th century, and the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America were subjected to bitterly cold winters. The mechanism for that regional cooling could have been a drop in the sun’s EUV output; this is, however, speculative.

Dan Lubin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pointed out the value of looking at sun-like stars elsewhere in the Milky Way to determine the frequency of similar grand minima. “Early estimates of grand minimum frequency in solar-type stars ranged from 10% to 30%, implying the sun’s influence could be overpowering. More recent studies using data from Hipparcos (a European Space Agency astrometry satellite) and properly accounting for the metallicity of the stars, place the estimate in the range of less than 3%.” This is not a large number, but it is significant.

Indeed, the sun could be on the threshold of a mini-Maunder event right now. Ongoing Solar Cycle 24 is the weakest in more than 50 years. Moreover, there is (controversial) evidence of a long-term weakening trend in the magnetic field strength of sunspots. Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives, magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Independent lines of research involving helioseismology and surface polar fields tend to support their conclusion. (Note: Penn and Livingston were not participants at the NRC workshop.)

“If the sun really is entering an unfamiliar phase of the solar cycle, then we must redouble our efforts to understand the sun-climate link,” notes Lika Guhathakurta of NASA’s Living with a Star Program, which helped fund the NRC study. “The report offers some good ideas for how to get started.”

In a concluding panel discussion, the researchers identified a number of possible next steps. Foremost among them was the deployment of a radiometric imager. Devices currently used to measure total solar irradiance (TSI) reduce the entire sun to a single number: the total luminosity summed over all latitudes, longitudes, and wavelengths. This integrated value becomes a solitary point in a time series tracking the sun’s output.

In fact, as Peter Foukal of Heliophysics, Inc., pointed out, the situation is more complex. The sun is not a featureless ball of uniform luminosity. Instead, the solar disk is dotted by the dark cores of sunspots and splashed with bright magnetic froth known as faculae. Radiometric imaging would, essentially, map the surface of the sun and reveal the contributions of each to the sun’s luminosity. Of particular interest are the faculae. While dark sunspots tend to vanish during solar minima, the bright faculae do not. This may be why paleoclimate records of sun-sensitive isotopes C-14 and Be-10 show a faint 11-year cycle at work even during the Maunder Minimum. A radiometric imager, deployed on some future space observatory, would allow researchers to develop the understanding they need to project the sun-climate link into a future of prolonged spotlessness.

Some attendees stressed the need to put sun-climate data in standard formats and make them widely available for multidisciplinary study. Because the mechanisms for the sun’s influence on climate are complicated, researchers from many fields will have to work together to successfully model them and compare competing results. Continued and improved collaboration between NASA, NOAA and the NSF are keys to this process.

Hal Maring, a climate scientist at NASA headquarters who has studied the report, notes that “lots of interesting possibilities were suggested by the panelists. However, few, if any, have been quantified to the point that we can definitively assess their impact on climate.” Hardening the possibilities into concrete, physically-complete models is a key challenge for the researchers.

Finally, many participants noted the difficulty in deciphering the sun-climate link from paleoclimate records such as tree rings and ice cores. Variations in Earth’s magnetic field and atmospheric circulation can affect the deposition of radioisotopes far more than actual solar activity. A better long-term record of the sun’s irradiance might be encoded in the rocks and sediments of the Moon or Mars. Studying other worlds might hold the key to our own.

The full report, “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate,” is available from the National Academies Press at

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips |Production editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

Article note sent by Solar observer Raymond Rienks


November 11, 2012

Incoming CMEs

INCOMING CMES: A pair of minor CMEs is heading for Earth. They were
launched on Nov. 9th and 10th, respectively, and are expected to merge
into a single cloud before they reach our planet on Nov. 12th.
NOAA forecasters estimate a 55% chance of polar geomagnetic storms
in the next 48 hours.


July 27, 2013

Space Weather Report July 26, 2012

Space Weather – 3 day forecast

Prepared jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA,
Space Weather Prediction Center and the U.S. Air Force.
Updated 2012 Jul 26 2200 UTC

Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity
SDF Number 208 Issued at 2200Z on 26 Jul 2012

IA.  Analysis of Solar Active Regions and Activity from  25/2100Z
to 26/2100Z:  Solar activity was low.  The only C-class flare of the
reporting period was a C1 at 26/1953Z from new Region 1532 (S20E67).
New flux emergence was observed in the northwest quadrant and was
numbered as Region 1531 (N15W59).

IB.  Solar Activity Forecast:  Solar activity is expected to be very
low with a chance for a C-class flare.

IIA.  Geophysical Activity Summary 25/2100Z to 26/2100Z:
The geomagnetic field was quiet.  The greater than 10 MeV proton
event at geosynchronous orbit that began at 23/1545Z, reached a
maximum flux of 12 pfu at 23/2145Z and ended at 24/1800Z. The
greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit reached
high levels during the period.

IIB.  Geophysical Activity Forecast:  The geomagnetic field is
expected to be quiet on day 1 (27 July).  By mid to late on day 2
(28 July), a recurrent coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS) is
expected to become geoeffective causing unsettled to active periods.
Unsettled to active periods are expected on day 3 (29 July) due to
the combined effects of the CH HSS and the 25 July coronal mass

III.  Event Probabilities 27 Jul-29 Jul
Class M    05/05/05
Class X    01/01/01
Proton     01/01/01
PCAF       Green

IV.  Penticton 10.7 cm Flux
Observed           26 Jul 115
Predicted   27 Jul-29 Jul  115/115/120
90 Day Mean        26 Jul 125

V.  Geomagnetic A Indices
Observed Afr/Ap 25 Jul  006/007
Estimated Afr/Ap 26 Jul  000/004
Predicted Afr/Ap 27 Jul-29 Jul  006/005-011/015-015/018

VI.  Geomagnetic Activity Probabilities 27 Jul-29 Jul
A.  Middle Latitudes
Active                05/25/35
Minor storm           01/10/20
Major-severe storm    01/01/05
B.  High Latitudes
Active                15/15/10
Minor storm           10/25/30
Major-severe storm    05/30/50

July 13, 2012

Space Weather News for July 12, 2012

EARTH-DIRECTED X-FLARE: Big sunspot AR1520 erupted on July 12th around 16:53 UT, producing an X-class solar flare and hurling a CME directly toward Earth. Forecasters expect the cloud to arrive on July 14th. Its impact could spark moderate to severe geomagnetic storms, allowing auroras to be seen at lower latitudes than usual. Check for more information and updates.

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