EPSO Geomagnetic Observations

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The above plots show current observations of the Earth's magnetic field strength r
ecorded at Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia.  These are measured in units of nano-Tesla (nT), with the time scale in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), also known as UTC, and thus 10* hours need to be added to read NSW local time (* 11 hours during daylight saving).  The three coloured lines indicate the three components of the local magnetic field, with blue indicating the north-south component, red the east-west component, and green the vertical component.  Each day at 00:00 hours UTC, the plot sets the current magnetic field strength as zero, and thereafter the variations deviate from this.  The last 7 days of magnetic traces may be viewed by clicking on either of the plots above.

The flow of electrical current in the Earth's upper atmosphere and magnetosphere causes variations of Earth's magnetic field strength measured at ground level, and so these magnetogram plots give an indication of the 'space weather' located immediately above a magnetometer station, and also of global-scale geomagnetic disturbances.  The source of this disturbance is the Sun, mostly from material ejected from the sun which arrives at Earth 2-3 days later and which then interacts with the Earth's magnetic field.  During especially severe disturbances aurora may be visible in the sky anywhere on Earth, including the equator.  The scale of current geomagnetic disturbance is essentially indicated by the 'wiggliness' of the magnetogram lines.  This wiggliness is measured by an index known as 'K', with K=0 indicating very quiet geomagnetic conditions and K=9 severely disturbed conditions.  K is measured in 3-hour blocks, and the current local-K index is shown at the top of the adjacent plot.  K < 4 is considered 'quiet', K = 4 is moderately disturbed, and K > 4 is significantly disturbed.  K >= 5 is referred to as a 'storm'.  K > 7 is severely disturbed, at which time aurora are likely to be viewed at locations far distant from the Earth's polar regions.  Examples of magnetometer traces recorded at Coonabarabran during geomagnetically quiet and disturbed times, are shown here.  On very rare occasions, displays of Aurora Australis can be very intense even in locations as far north as Coonabarabran, such as the spectacular display of 28th September, 1909.  This particular event was the largest recorded up to this date, briefly knocking out long-distance telegraph communications over most of the world, and recorders at Australian geomagnetic observatories went off-scale.

Comparison with other locations
The following table shows the current Coonabarabran geomagnetic observations compared with similar SAM magnetic observatories around the world.  Comparing between these plots shows whether Coonabarabran magnetic disturbances are local or global.

EPSO SAM Magnetogram Germany
USA - (Alaska)
Reeve Observatory

Comparison with current Planetary K index (Kp)
NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Centre compute an index known as 'Kp' which is similar to the K-index shown on the above plots, but with local effects filtered out (Kp is 'K-planetary').  Generally there is a close correlation between the scale of wiggliness shown on the Coonabarabran magnetic plot below, and the currently global Kp shown in the bar-plot to the right of it.  Immediately below the Coonabarabran plot is a similar plot showing the previous 24-hours of magnetic observations recorded at Canberra, ACT, Australia.

EPSO Geomagnetic Variation - Current UTC day
NOAA/SWPC Planetary K-index - Kp

GA Canberra Geomagnetic Variation - previous 24h IPS Geophysical Conditions


Aurora Alert                

Geomagnetic Warning 

Geomagnetic Alert     

pc3 Pulsation Index    

Current whereabouts of Aurora Australis/Borealis
NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Centre model the current whereabouts of the auroral ovals located at the Earth's north and south polar regions.  During periods of strong geomagnetic disturbance (Kp > 4) these ovals may increase in size considerably and begin to cover the southern regions of New Zealand and Australia.

NOAA/SWPC 30-minute Aurora Forecast - Northern Hemisphere NOAA/SWPC 30-minute Aurora Forecast - Southern Hemisphere

Current All-Sky-Camera images
The Ionospheric Prediction Service of Australia's Bureau of Meteorology operate an all-sky-camera located in Tasmania.  This camera operates during night-time only.  Images shown here may be compared with a similar camera operating nearby Coonabarabran, NSW.

EPSO All-Sky-Camera, Coonabarabran, NSW Cades Observatory, Kingston, Tasmania

Click on above image for a movie showing the sky for the last 24-hours or so.

Faint red auroras (630.0 nm wavelength) may be apparent low on the southern horizon for Kp of 3 or more. Green auroras (557.7 nm) are often recorded low on the southern horizon for Kp of 4 or more.

Australian Ionospheric Prediction Service (IPS)
   Geophysical Web pages
   Canberra Magnetogram
   Canberra K-index
   Daily Planetary A-Index
   Auroral Oval Tool