Space Weather Woman provides regular space weather forecasts. Find out what’s happening on the source of all energy on Earth.
So, who cares about what’s going on with the sun? Well, for starters, people who run power utilities and communications satellites. Both can be disrupted by extreme solar events. Next, ham radio and shortwave enthusiasts. Radio propagation depends on solar activity effecting the ionosphere. Then, photographers who want to capture those amazing aurora photographs.
Dr. Tamitha Skov is a credentialed space weather meteorologist. She calls herself Space Weather Woman and you can watch her regular reports and forecasts on You Tube. She seems to post these a couple of times a month. And, you can get regular updates on her Twitter feed.
It was kind of fun watching Tamitha’s reports. Not the kind of weather report we are used to on the evening news. But interesting.
Now that we are at the bottom of the solar cycle, hams make an effort to know when those few really good days of propagation will happen. Mostly, the ionosphere is bad news these days.
Space Weather Forecasts – Other Favorites
There are a number of web sites and services that provide space weather forecasts. Perhaps most comprehensive is the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. Several sites are specifically geared towards radio enthusiasts. These include N0NBH Space Weather, and the NW7US Propagation sites.
Hams keep an eye on two numbers in particular. The first is solar flux, which describes the level of sun spot activity that strengthens the ionosphere. Right now, that number is pretty weak. Second is the K-Index, which describes short term geomagnetic disturbance. As the K rises, high frequency propagation gets interrupted. Solar activity has daily, monthly, seasonal and long-term 11 year cyclic variations.
If you want to learn more about how this all works, check this tutorial from N1QQ.