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2015 February 03

Click for movie. Also available on YouTube.

6 More Weeks of Space Winter?

On Monday, February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter but could he also predict space weather? Having successfully predicted last years long and bitter winter, people are heeding his warnings for the coming months by stockpiling rock salt, milk, and toilet paper. Punxsutawney Phil is one of the most revered climatologists, but his predictions are not without controversy. Some weather agencies dismiss his predictions, others have found his predictions are accurate. It is not known if he can or is willing to predict space weather too.

The Sun is a major source of space weather and predicting when a CME or solar flare will cause technological disruptions is a difficult task. We are in the declining phase of solar cycle 24 which means the amount of solar activity is decreasing but not necessarily the intensity of the activity. The current level of solar activity remains moderate as this movie of AR12268 shows. It produced a steady stream of C-flares causing a geomagnetic storm by increasing the Kp index to 5.

Recent attempts to contact Punxsutawney Phil have failed. Having seen his shadow, he went back to sleep in his den. We have to wait at least 6 more weeks for him to wake up and finally tell us if he will make any predictions for future space weather.

Keywords: AR Tracking, Flare
Filters: Be_thin

(Prepared by Patricia Jibben)

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