Right now, solar Minimum is in full swing. As you can see, the sun is completely spotless.
But, last night the spotless sun produced a G1-class geomagnetic storm with bright auroras reported from Iceland to Alaska. More lights are in the offing as a stream of solar wind is expected to buffet Earth’s magnetic field for the next 24 to 48 hours.
Similar displays were reported over Iceland (“the best auroras of the season,” says Jónína Óskarsdóttir) and Canada (“STEVE made an appearance as well,” reports Harlan Thomas).
This storm was caused not by sunspots, which have been absent for most of 2018, but rather by a hole in the sun’s atmosphere. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the gaseous fissure on Dec. 24th:
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