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Today's Space Weather
Saturday 31 January
last updated 30/2325 UT
Solar xray flare activity remains at moderate levels with 3 M class flares over the last 24 hours. As has been the case for previous flares from region 2268, none of these flares produced even a very weak CME, so no significant geomagnetic impacts are expected. Geomagnetic activity is a unsettled levels due to a moderately high speed solar wind stream and these conditions are expected to continue for the next few days. Good conditions remains for HF communications. Maximum useable frequencies are expected to fall slightly over the next few days as the solar flux levels are dropping however they should remain at or above predicted monthly values.
What is Space Weather ?

Space weather refers to changes in the space environment, particularly the region between the Earth and Sun. The "solar wind" from the Sun stream past the Earth and is mostly deflected by the Earth's magnetic field, but variations in the solar wind cause changes in the Earth's magnetic field.

solar prominence

Occasionally, a huge release of magnetic energy, called a solar flare, occurs on the Sun. Flares can produce large quantities of x-rays which affect the Earth's atmosphere. They can also accelerate atomic particles (mostly protons) to very high speeds (a substantial fraction of the speed of light!). These high energy particles are dangerous to man and can reach the stratosphere where jetliners fly.

Most aspects of space weather affect us to some extent. The more our society becomes dependent on technology and the more we utilise space, the more we are affected by space weather. Some aspects of space weather are benevolent, and allow activities not otherwise possible such as long range radio communications. Some aspects are benign but fascinating such as the Aurora, and some are malevolent. Like terrestrial weather, it sometimes depends on the situation and the event.

The image below is an artists impression of the solar wind interacting with the Earth's magnetic field.

Solar wind
Type II solar radio spectrograph event 17 Dec 2014
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