Saturday, 2 March 2013

March 2013

Propagation Summary.

Conditions during February have been fairly quiet as predicted with sunspot activity well below predicted levels.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity until 23 March 2013
Solar activity is expected to be at very low to low levels throughout the forecast period with a slight chance for an M-class event after 10 March. The Solar flux is expected to be at normal to moderate levels.  Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at quiet levels through the majority of the forecast period. Unsettled levels are predicted for 01 and 21 March when recurrent coronal hole high speed streams are forecast.

 Solar Cycle 14 Peak Prediction
The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 66 in the autumn of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number has already reached 67 (in February 2012) due to the strong peak in late 2011 so the official maximum will be at least this high and this late.  We are currently over four years into Cycle 24. The current predicted and observed size makes this the smallest sunspot cycle since Cycle 14 which had a maximum of 64.2 in February of 1906.

The Boulder K Index
The ‘K’ Index is a good way of predicting shortwave conditions.  Usually, if the K Index reaches 5, there is usually a shortwave blackout due at some time.  A live and updated chart of the K index can be found at:


February 2013

Propagation Summary.
Sunspot activity was predominantly at low levels with very low levels observed on 17 January. The largest flares of the period were on 07 and 11 January which was a c5 flare.  Then on 16 January, a long duration C2 flare occurred.  The Solar Flux was at moderate levels on 14-16 January and again on 19-20th.  High levels were observed n response to a shock arrival from a Coronal Mass ejection on 13 January. Geomagnetic field activity ranged from quiet to active. 

Forecast for Solar and Geomagnetic Activity until 16 February

Solar activity is expected to be at very low to low levels until 30 January.  A chance for M-class flares exists from 31 January through to 15 February.  By 16 February, very low to low levels are expected.  The Solar Flux is expected to be at normal to moderate levels until 23 January, then on 24-25 January there is a chance of an increase to high levels.  Low to normal levels should then prevail 26 January to 9 February until the end of the forecast period.  Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be mostly quiet through the forecast period with unsettled periods expected on 23 January and 9-10 February.

Sun to Skip Solar Cycle 25?

According to three independent studies of the Sun's interior, visible surface and corona, solar cycle 25 will have significantly reduced activity, or may not even appear at all. “This is highly unusual and unexpected,” says Frank Hill, associated director of the National Solar Observatory's (NSO) Solar Synoptic Network. “But the fact that three completely different views of the Sun point in the same direction is a powerful indicator that the sunspot cycle may be going into hibernation.”  You can read this article in full by Dr Emily Baldwyn of Astronomy Now Magazine at: