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A Very Promising Path 

Dear <<First Name>>,

Our star's increasing activity is on a roll! We have another Earth-directed solar storm and though it is pretty mild as far as storms go, it is getting quite a bit of press. That is the good thing. The bad thing is, official forecasts from NASA and NOAA are all over the map. Ironically, the reason for the widely varying forecasts is the same reason why we are getting more Earth-directed storms in the first place: our Sun is on a very promising path.

For the very first time since Solar Cycle 25 officially began back in December 2019, we have been waiting for the Sun to exhibit certain signs. First it was a sustained rise in activity. Then it was more frequent solar storm launches, and crossing of the "terminator" with its boost in big solar flares, a drop in cosmic intensity, and triple digit solar flux. Now, finally, we are seeing a "tilt" in the Sun's magnetic field. This tilt, measured by magnetic field models of the Sun, is yet the strongest indicator that our Sun is advancing towards solar maximum. The picture above shows a hint of this tilt where the magnetic neutral line (the black and white dashed line) rises up to high latitudes on the left side of the picture. This rise shows a strong tilt in the Sun's dipole field, which results in a more complex solar wind through which solar storms must travel. 

The effect of this complex solar wind makes forecasting the arrival time of Earth-directed solar storms more difficult. In the case of this week's solar storm, NOAA and NASA forecasts disagree on arrival time by nearly one day! But as it turns out, the expected solar storm is just hitting Earth now as I write this, so it seems NASA's prediction is closer to the truth. In order to capture all this complexity, I have done a live, informal forecast for this week that explains things in more detail. In fact, after the forecast, I stick around for a Q&A and even discuss the tilt of our Sun's magnetic dipole and why it reveals our Sun is on a very promising path! (See for the actual time in the Q&A when I discuss more about this very promising development.)


Solar Storm On its Way to Earth | Space Weather Briefing 03.26.2022
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