The Met Office Space Weather Operations Centre (MOSWOC) has been operating for one year this month.
Space Weather can impact all our lives, in particular the technology which we rely on and it is the study of the Earth’s upper atmosphere and magnetic field. MOSWOC gathers critical information needed to help the UK prepare for and build resilience to space weather events.
It’s certainly been a busy year! MOSWOC has been relocated and the new setup allows our space weather advisors to monitor the Sun in detail 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
During this time we’ve been working hard to improve the cutting edge technology we use for our forecasts and we are now using our new Cray supercomputer to help warn of geomagnetic storms.
Talking of which, just this week we were able to forecast and accurately predict that a geomagnetic storm would bring increased chances of seeing the aurora borealis. Last night (7 October 2015) there were many sightings of the Northern Lights, even as far south as south Wales. As we blogged yesterday, there are increased chances of seeing the aurora over the next few weeks.
Here are some examples of the stunning pictures captured by those lucky enough to witness the aurora last night:
@metoffice @VirtualAstro stunning on Hadrian’s Wall earlier this evening ! pic.twitter.com/o9kLUWpIqZ
— Cain Scrimgeour (@cainscrimgeour) October 7, 2015
Aurora tonight from Stranraer,Scot.@DGWGO @aurorawatchuk @Aurora_Alerts @VirtualAstro @metoffice @BBCScotWeather pic.twitter.com/iKE0rySNM8
— PsyguY (@DoojDj) October 7, 2015
@metoffice here’s my effort https://t.co/Voy6slJbZL pic.twitter.com/V4krk93L1t
— Grande Le Onion (@grandeleonion) October 7, 2015
More people than ever are becoming interested in space weather with the space weather forecast on our website seeing a significant increase in viewings. Why not take a look and find out more? or follow @metofficespace on Twitter.
Our science team, alongside academic partners, has started work on two new projects, which will ultimately feed back into the forecasts. FLARECAST is a study looking at the origins of solar storms and SOL-TERRA is aiming to improve the modelling system used for Sun to Earth space weather forecasting.
The coming year will also see us providing space weather services to the European Space Agency as a partner in the Heliospheric Expert Centre, so a busy second year is certainly forecast as MOSWOC continues to go from strength to strength!
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