Image Credit: NOAA
Earth experienced a minor geomagnetic storm on Thursday, August 2nd. The cause of the storm was a south-pointing magnetism which drifted past Earth. It seems the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF), which originates from our sun, opened a crack in Earth's magnetosphere "bubble" and allowed solar wind to enter and fuel the storm.
The above chart is the estimated 3-hour Planetary Kp-index (magnetic index), derived at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, using data from ground-based magnetometers in Boulder, Colorado; Chambon la Foret, France; Fredericksburg, Virginia; Fresno, California; Hartland, UK; Newport, Washington; Sitka, Alaska. The data shows index beginning to rise on Thursday around 14:00 UTC, max out around 17:00 UTC, and then dropping off around 20:00 UTC. Earth's geomagnetic activity is expected to be quiet to unsettled on August 3rd and continue mostly quiet on August 4th and 5th.
Back on the sun, solar activity is expected to continue at low levels with a chance for an isolated M-class solar flare. Stay tuned...
To monitor solar flare activity minute by minute, visit the "Today's Space Weather" page of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, URL: www.swpc.noaa.gov .
To learn more about the sun and to stay current on solar activity, visit the mission home pages of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov .