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SunSpotWatch.com

Radio Propagation : Space Weather : Sunspot Cycle Information

a live reference resource site for solar and geomagnetic data and images
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Gain the on-air edge: This article explains how the ANTENNA is the key! -> Read this introduction to Antenna Modeling


STEREO 3D

STEREO 3D IMAGE

X-ray Conditions (Flares) 5-min.

X-ray plot

X-ray Conditions (Flares) 1-min.

X-ray plot

Geomagnetic Conditions (Kp)

plot of Kp

Satellite Environment Plot:


Satellite Environment Plot





Main Propagation Menu:

+ Aurora Resources

How-To Articles:

- Is HF Propagation Reciprocal?
- De-mystifying HF Radio Propagation and Modeling

Check out the ACE-HF propagation software - the latest is version 2.05. ACE-HF is propagation forecasting and modeling for Amateur Radio as well as for Shortwave radio Listening and general HF operation. This software is even used by the military and other clients around the world. This software is developed and maintained by the same engineers that keep VOACAP up-to-date. As a result, this software is the most accurate user interface integrated with VOACAP. CHECK IT OUT, TODAY. This software is the most accurate modeling software available, and is endorsed by NW7US. Read the details to find out why.




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- Main NW7US Page
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- Feedback - Contact NW7US



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Other links of interest:

- PropNET - live propagation studies
- Shortwave Radio Resource Center
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Comments? Please use the feedback form. I look forward to hearing your comments.


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Warnings/Alerts issued
in the last 24 hours, if any:

(Key: NOAA Scales)



[ live aurora display ]
[ auroral power maps ]

[ d-layer conditions ]

[ latest solar images 1 ]
[ latest solar images 2 ]
[ latest solar images 3 ]

[ active solar regions ]
[ current solar region image ]

[ What is a flare and its class? ]

Recent Space Environment Reports:

+ Reports of Solar & Geophysical Activity
+ Solar & Geophysical Activity Summaries

From the Space Environment Center:

Solar X-ray Flux

+ A 3 day plot of 5-minute solar X-ray flux values measured on the GOES 8 and 10 satellites.
+ A 6-hour 1-min Solar X-ray Flux plot

Satellite Environment Plot

[ Proton Flux ] [Electron Flux ]
[ GEOS Hp ] [ Estimated Kp ]

Additional Resources

+ SpaceW.com Aurora Network
+ D-Layer Absorption Conditions/Predictions
+ 160 Meter Propagation Forecast
+ Solar Physics Department of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, the official keepers of sunspot data.




Solar Activity Forecast
The Forecast of Solar Activity as well as Geomagnetic Activity

Probability of Flares
and Proton Events
EVENT
(Flare/Proton)
0-24 hrs
24-48 hrs
M-class
15%
15%
X-class
01%
01%
Proton
01%
01%
Geomagnetic Activity Probabilities

Middle latitudes
High latitudes

0-24 hrs
24-48 hrs
0-24 hrs
24-48 hrs
Active
01%
01%
01%
01%
Minor Storm
01%
01%
01%
01%
Major-severe Storm
01%
01%
01%
01%



Solar Sunspot Cycle 24 Progress

Solar Cycle 24 Smoothed Sunspot Progress
Solar Cycle 24 10.7-cm Monthly Progress
Solar Cycle 24 Planetary A Index (Ap) Monthly Progress
Do you want the latest solar conditions sent to you as an RSS feed? Click: XML RSS propagation feed

You will need a newsreader for RSS/XML.

(Use http://hfradio.org/propsupport/prop.rss as your RSS channel url)




This page was rendered on 24-Sep-17 0109 UTC.
This page was first created in 1998, by Tomas David Hood (NW7US)

Current Sunspot Cycle 24 Activity and Space Weather

Sun Spots: 22 as of 09/22/2017 :: 10.7-cm Flux: 81 SFU
(SFU=Solar Flux Units)

Space Weather Overview Graphic from SWPC

30 Minutes of Dazzling Sun! Ultra-high Definition 4k View



An Intimate View of the Sun, Every Day of 2015 (Year 6 of SDO) UHD 4k



Watch Five Very Intense X-class X-ray Flares Erupt, Back-to-back!
(From the largest sunspot region in 20+ years...)



Check out the X2.7 X-ray Flare (May 5 2015) - 'Biggest' of 2015, so far



See highlights of the last five years of the Sun, as seen by SDO



The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Latest Solar Images
Click on an image for full-sized view





SDO - Solar Dynamics Observatory     SDO - Solar Dynamics Observatory

D Region Absorption Predictions (D-RAP) Global Map

Map, Above: Conditions in the D region of the ionosphere have a dramatic effect on high frequency (HF) communications and low frequency (LF) navigation systems. The global D Region Absorption Predictions (D-RAP) depicts the D region at high latitudes where it is driven by particles as well as low latitudes, where photons cause the prompt changes.

Note: At times, images may appear broken or missing, when SDO is working on the AIA/HMI instruments.


Planetary A-index (Ap): 5 | Planetary K-index (Kp): 2
Solar Wind: 350 km/s at 5.0 protons/cm3, Bz is 1.0 nT
(Sep 24, 2017 at 0047 UT)

X-ray Solar Flares:
6h hi [B3.0][0551Z 09/23] 24h hi [B3.0][0551Z 09/23]

Background X-ray Level, Last Six Days

Sep 22 2017 :: A3.7
Sep 21 2017 :: A1.1
Sep 20 2017 :: A5.2
Sep 19 2017 :: A2.0
Sep 18 2017 :: A0.0
Sep 17 2017 :: A0.0


Check out the current Aurora Oval and activity.

Here is a video introduction to shortwave / HF amateur radio -- what is it that we amateur radio oprators listen to? If you have not yet been introduced to this world, this is a very basic introduction.






If you are using software utilities such as Ace-HF, that require a "smoothed" sunspot number
(Referred to as the SSN), or, the smoothed 10.7-cm Radio Flux Index,
use the following predicted values in this following table:



To understand more about the Maximum Usable Frequencies, and related
science, please read the MUF Basics Page.

Global HF Propagation Conditions
Global HF Propagation Conditions for 0000Z on 24 Sep, 2017
High Latitude: Normal
Middle Latitude: Normal
Low Latitude: Normal

Geomagnetic Latitude Ranges:
High: 60-90 degrees
Middle: 20-60 degrees
Low: 0-20 degrees


At 0805 UTC, on 9 August 2011, a strong magnitude X6.9 X-ray flare -- the strongest yet in this current solar cycle (Cycle 24) -- erupted on the northwestern solar limb. Here is a HD Movie of the event:



Videos of Interest - Space Weather, Solar Dynamics Observatory, STEREO, and more... from the NW7US YouTube Channel. (Click on the small image to launch the video...)

Video: Voyager Finds Magnetic Foam at Solar Systems Edge
Video: Voyager Finds Magnetic Foam at Solar Systems Edge



Video: Zoom View of Prominence Eruption and X-Ray Flare - M2.5 Magnitude - June 7 2011
Video: Zoom View of Prominence Eruption and X-Ray Flare - M2.5 Magnitude - June 7 2011

Video: X-Ray Flare, Coronal Mass Ejection, Proton Storm - M2.5 Magnitude - June 7 2011
Video: X-Ray Flare, Coronal Mass Ejection, Proton Storm - M2.5 Magnitude - June 7 2011 (Close-up of the video, above)

Video: Stunning Close-up View of M3 X-Ray Flare 24 February 2011
Video: Stunning Close-up View of M3 X-Ray Flare 24 February 2011



Video: June 2011 20-meter (14-Mhz) JT65A Coverage Map of NW7US Radio Signal
Video: June 2011 20-meter (14-Mhz) JT65A Coverage Map of NW7US Radio Signal



The NW7US Current Sunspot and Geophysical Activity Report
The observations, prognastications, and comments by NW7US
NW7US is Tomas David Hood, Propagation and Space Weather Columnist
for CQ Communications

More about Background X-rays

The hard X-ray energy present from the wavelengths of 1 to 8 Angstroms provide the most effective ionizing energy throughout all of the ionospheric layers in our atmosphere. The GEOS satellites measure these wavelengths and the resulting measurements are reported as the "background X-ray level" throughout the day. A daily average is reported, as well.

Just like X-ray flares, the background hard X-ray level is measured in watts per square meter (W/m2), reported using the categories, A, B, C, M, and X. These letters are multipliers; each class has a peak flux ten times greater than the preceding one. Within a class there is a linear scale from 1 to 9.

If one records the daily background X-ray levels for the course of a sunspot cycle, one would discover that the background X-ray levels remained at the A class level during the sunspot cycle minumum. During the rise and fall of a solar cycle, the background X-ray energy levels remained mostly in the B range. During peak solar cycle periods, the background energy reached the C and sometimes even M levels.

Armed with this information, can we discover any clues as to the current status of Sunspot Cycle 24? Below is a graph plotting the background hard X-ray energy reported by the GEOS satellites since the end of Sunspot Cycle 22. Clearly, we see a noticeable rise in Cycle 24 activity. We're seeing the energy mostly in the B level more often, supporting the view that Cycle 24 is alive and moving along toward an eventual sunspot cycle peak in several years.

Overall, the monthly average background 'hard' X-ray level is rising (as seen by the following plot), showing a change from deep solar cycle minimum. We are certainly in the rising phase of Sunspot Cycle 24. While it has been a slow up-tick over the last eighteen months, I expect to see a more rapid rise during mid to late 2011.

Background X-ray (1 to 8 Angstrom) Plot



Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
Covering the period: 11 - 17 September 2017

Solar activity was at predominately very low levels through the summary period, interupted by a brief period of low activity on 12 Sep as Region 2680 (N09, L=317, class/area Hsx/140 on 12 Sep) produced a pair of impulsive C-class flares. 11 Sep saw the X-ray background elevated at the C-level due to slow decay from the X8 flare (R3-Strong) observed at 10/1606 UTC. No Earth-directed CMEs were detected during the period.

Of note, two halo CMEs were observed on 17 Sep. The first one, a full-halo CME, was first observed in LASCO C2 imagery at 17/1224 UTC, while the second one was a partial-halo CME, first observed in LASCO C2 imagery at 17/1424 UTC. The source region of both CMEs was determined to be from old active Region 2673 (S09, L=119) which is presently on the back side of the solar disk. Old Region 2673 is due to return on 23 Sep.

10 MeV and 100 MeV protons at geosynchronous orbit exceeded their respective event thresholds during the period, both in response to the X8 flare observed on 10 Sep. At 10/1645 UTC, 10 MeV protons exceeded 10 pfu (S1-Minor), reached a maximum of 1,490 pfu (S3-Strong) and decayed below the S1 level at 14/1725 UTC. The 100 MeV proton flux exceeded the 1 pfu level at 10/1625 UTC, reached a maximum of 68 pfu at 10/2215 UTC and ended at 13/0335 UTC.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at moderate levels on 13-14 Sep and high levels on 11-12 and 15-17 Sep. A maximum of 46,263 pfu was observed at 17/1610 UTC.

Geomagnetic field activity was a quiet to minor storm levels (G1-Minor) and major storm levels (G2-Moderate) during the summary period. Quiet to unsettled levels were observed on 11 Sep through late on 12 Sep due to waning effects from a negative polarity CH HSS. Late on 12 Sep through midday on 13 Sep, field activity increased to active to minor storm levels (G1-Minor) in response to CME effects from the 10 Sep X8 flare. During this timeframe, total field peaked at 16 nT, the Bz component reached a maximum southward extent of -12 nT and solar wind speed peaked at about 650 km/s. Quiet levels were observed for the remainder of 13 Sep through midday on 14 Sep.

From midday on 14 Sep through 17 Sep, field activity was dominated by effects from a recurrent, positive polarity CH HSS. Unsettled to G1-Minor and G2-Moderate levels were observed through 16 Sep with quiet to active levels present on 17 Sep. During this timeframe, total field peaked at near 22 nT, the Bz component reached a maximum southward extent of -18 nT and solar wind speed peaked at about 775 km/s.





Monthly and smoothed sunspot number - The monthly mean sunspot number (blue) and 13-month smoothed monthly sunspot number (red) for the last five cycles. You can see that this current cycle, Cycle 24, is a weak cycle, compared to the last few.

(Click to see actual size)
Monthly and smoothed sunspot number chart

Daily and monthly sunspot number (last 13 years)

Daily sunspot number (yellow), monthly mean sunspot number (blue), smoothed monthly sunspot number (red) for the last 13 years and 12-month ahead predictions of the monthly smoothed sunspot number:

SC (red dots) : prediction method based on an interpolation of Waldmeier's standard curves; It is only based on the sunspot number series.

CM (red dashes) : method (from K. Denkmayr and P. Cugnon) combining a regression technique applied to the sunspot number series with the aa geomagnetic index used as a precursor (improved predictions during the minimum phase between solar cycles).

(Click to see actual size)
Daily and monthly sunspot number (last 13 years)

What is 'Space Weather'? Click on these two information slides to view them in full size:

What is Space Weather? Slide 1 of 2 What is Space Weather? Slide 2 of 2





View of numbered sunspot regions and plages (if any)
Source: http://www.solarmonitor.org/.
(Click for large view)

Active Regions and Plages

Active sunspot regions, and plages, identified by SIDC

SIDC Solar Disc with active regions and plages


Latest GOES 15 Image of the Sun

Latest GOES-15 Image of the Sun


STEREO IMAGES
STEREO Behind Image
What is coming
SOHO EIT 195 Image
Current View
STEREO Ahead Image
What was...


Real Time Solor Wind and Aurora:

On Z: Bz: nT
Bx: nT | By: nT | Total: nT
Most recent satellite polar pass:
Centered on // : UTC
Aurora Activity Level was at UTC
visit noaa for latest.

This is a video of the simulation from May 27-28, 2011, showing
the Geomagnetic disturbance caused by the solar wind










Space Weather and Propagation Forecast
Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA,
and the Space Weather Prediction Center

Three Day Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
(as of 2200Z on 07 Dec 2014)

Solar Forecast:

Solar activity is expected to be low with a chance for M-class flares on days one, two, and three (08 Dec, 09 Dec, 10 Dec).

Geomagnetic Forecast:

The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to minor storm levels on day one (08 Dec), quiet to active levels on day two (09 Dec) and quiet levels on day three (10 Dec).


Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
18 September - 14 October 2017

Solar activity is expected to be at predominately very low levels on 18-22 Sep and 08-14 Oct. R1-R2 (Minor-Moderate) levels are expected on 23 Sep-07 Oct due to the return of old Region 2673 (S09, L=119).

The greater than 10 MeV protons at geosynchronous orbit are expected to remain at background levels from 18-22 Sep and 08-14 Oct. A chance for an S1-S2 (Minor-Moderate) proton event is possible from 23 Sep-07 Oct in association with significant flare activity after the return of old Region 2673.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be at high levels on 18-22 Sep, 28 Sep-19 Oct and 12-14 Oct due to CH HSS influence. Normal to moderate levels are expected for the remainder of the outlook period.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at unsettled to active levels on 18-20 Sep, 24-25 Sep and 30 Sep-02 Oct with G1 (Minor) storm conditions possible on 27-29 Sep and 11-14 Oct due to recurrent CH HSS activity. Mostly quiet conditions are expected for the remainder of the outlook period.




Real-time foF2 map from IPS (Ionospheric Prediction Service), Australian Space Weather Agency

foF2 Map from IPS, Australia

Space Weather + Ham Radio Resources



Click on image to
view larger versions

The following images
are from SOHO

C2 LASCO Image
C3 LASCO Image

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Check out this amazing NASA SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) video
showing plasma rain on the Sun!




Check out this amazing NASA SDO (Solar Dynamics Observatory) video
showing a prominence the Sun:




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Additional Views of the Sun

Be sure to check the Date shown in each photo - is it today's date?
(click to enlarge)

Current Numbered Sunspots / MDI MagnetogramCatania Solar Disc

H-Alpha View 1H-Alpha View 2






Check out these books on Radio Propagation:

+ The New Shortwave Propagation Handbook (Paperback) - by George Jacobs, Theodore J. Cohen, R. B. Rose. The NEW Shortwave Progagation Handbook may well be the only book you'll need on the subject of ionospheric propagation! It is a "must read" for Radio Amateurs, Shortwave Listeners, and radio communicators of any type who need to make the most productive use of the radio spectrum, regardless of the time of day, the season of the year, or the state of the sunspot cycle. It will become your ever-present companion a the operating table as you master the art of shortwave radio progagation.

+ How Radio Signals Work (Paperback) - by Jim Sinclair. This book provides a basic understanding of the way radio signals work-without becoming bogged down with the technicalities. It covers all kinds of radio signal types--including mobile communications, short-wave, satellite, and microwave. No detailed knowledge of electronics or mathematics is required. A-Z coverage of radio signals including satellites, mobile communications, and short-wave radio. No math or electronics background necessary.

+ Introduction to RF Propagation (Hardcover) - by John S. Seybold. This book provides readers with a solid understanding of the concepts involved in the propagation of electromagnetic waves and of the commonly used modeling techniques. While many books cover RF propagation, most are geared to cellular telephone systems and, therefore, are limited in scope. This title is comprehensive-it treats the growing number of wireless applications that range well beyond the mobile telecommunications industry, including radar and satellite communications.



Data and images courtesy of IPS Australia, NOAA, NASA, SWPC, SIDC

Layout, analysis, commentary, and certain forecasts and content is
Copyright, 2017, Tomas David Hood (NW7US), all rights reserved.
No part, except for the space weather 'banners', may be copied without express permission.

Last Update: January 04, 2017