Current sunspot cycle activity, space weather, solar storm and geomagnetic conditions and radio propagation forecasts

Current sunspot cycle activity, space weather, solar storm and geomagnetic conditions and radio propagation forecasts

This page was rendered on 04-Feb-21 2115 UTC.
This page was first created in 1998, by Tomas David Hood (NW7US)

Current Sunspot Cycle 24 Activity and Space Weather

Sun Spots: 11 as of 02/03/2021 :: 10.7-cm Flux: 74 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

Planetary A-index (Ap): 7 | Planetary K-index (Kp): 0
Solar Wind: 444 km/s at 5.0 protons/cm3, Bz is -1.0 nT
(Feb 04, 2021 at 2102 UT)

X-ray Solar Flares:
6h hi [none] 24h hi [none]

Background X-ray Level, Last Six Days


Check out the current Aurora Oval and activity.

What is the difference between the CB and Amateur Radio Services, in the USA? Here are some thoughts on the portrayal of the Amateur Radio Service by the Hit TV Series, NCIS, and a clarification of the difference between CB radio and ham radio.
(Skip to timecode 1:33 to bypass the introductory chat and talk about the headset microphone.)

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:

Predicted SMOOTHED Sunspot Number And Radio Flux Values
With Expected Ranges


Smoothed Sunspot Number

Smoothed 10.7 cm Radio Flux

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 2000Z on 04 Feb, 2021
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…)

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: 25 – 31 January 2021

Solar activity was at very low levels. A few B-class x-ray events were observed from Regions 2799 (N22, L=021, class/area Dro/020 on 25 Jan) and 2800 (N19, L=306, class/area Bxo/010 on 27 Jan). No Earth-directed CMEs were observed in available coronagraph imagery.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at normal to moderate levels on 25-26 Jan. High levels were reached on 27-31 Jan with a maximum flux of 5,068 pfu observed on 31/1540 UTC. High levels were due to HSS influence.

Geomagnetic field activity was at quiet to G1 (Minor) storm levels on 25 Jan, quiet to active levels on 26 Jan and quiet to unsettled levels on 27-28 Jan. This activity was due to influence from a geoeffective, negative polarity CH HSS. Quiet levels were observed on 29-31 Jan. During the highlight period, wind speeds peaked at about 605 km/s early on 26 Jan, total field reached 10 nT on 25 Jan and the Bz component reached -9 nT on 25 Jan.

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)
(Click for large view)

Active Regions and Plages

Active sunspot regions, and plages, identified by SIDC

SIDC Solar Disc with active regions and plages


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

Real Time Solor Wind and Aurora:

On 2021 Feb 04 2111Z: Bz: 1.0 nT
Bx: 3.0 nT | By: -0.8 nT | Total: 3.3 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

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
01 February – 27 February 2021

Solar activity is expected to be at very low levels throughout the outlook period.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be at high levels on 01-10 Feb and 22-27 Feb, all due to HSS effects. Normal to moderate levels are expected on 11-21 Feb.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at G1 (Minor) storm levels on 01 Feb and unsettled to active levels on 02-03 Feb, all due to negative polarity CH HSS influence. Quiet to unsettled levels are expected on 07-08 Feb due to positive polarity CH HSS influence. G1 (Minor) storm levels are anticipated on 21 Feb followed by unsettled to active levels on 22-23 Feb, all due to negative polarity CH HSS influence. Predominately quiet conditions are expected for 03-06 Feb, 09-20 Feb and 24-27 Feb.

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

foF2 Map from IPS, Australia

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