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Geomagnetic storm update - 13th May 2024

What Has Happened?

Photographers attempting to capture the aurora at Craiglockhart hill, Scotland on 10th May 2024. Photo credit: Stewart McWilliams.

Chart of planetary Kp, a measure of global geomagnetic activity. This reached Kp9, or STORM G5 classification.


Many people around the northern hemisphere have stayed up late to observe dazzling displays of the aurora on 10th of May.

A series of Earth-directed coronal mass ejections (CMEs) arrived at 16:39 UT on the 10th, resulting in the strongest geomagnetic storm of this solar cycle so far. The enhanced solar wind speed reached up to 1000 km/s (about 621 mi/s)! Geomagnetic activity reached the highest possible level of STORM G5 on the 10th and 11th May. The local K index in all three UK geomagnetic observatories reached K=9, which is the highest value in this geomagnetic activity scale.

The same active region that produced those CMEs has continued to produce further M-class and X-class solar flares with associated CMEs during the last few days. Further periods of STORM G1/G2 are possible throughout today and tomorrow before we see a decline in activity towards Wednesday, as the active region rotates out of the view from Earth.

Assuming clear dark skies, there is an increased chance of seeing the aurora tonight (13th May) and tomorrow (14th May). Those in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland have the best chance if the weather is favourable and the storm continues long enough.


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The British Geological Survey is a geoscience research centre that is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and affiliated to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

CME or Coronal Mass Ejection
The eruption of a portion of the outer atmosphere of the Sun into space, caused by rapid changes in its magnetic field. Often occurs along with a solar flare.

Sunspot/Active Region
A region of intense magnetic field in the Sun's visible outer atmosphere often associated with flares and CMEs.