TAFS is a free service, but your donation would be greatly appreciated, and it will assist in adding for some great enhancements to the forecast service. I'd like to add the following enhancements soon:
Removing the 'amCharts text'.
Enabling Geo-Location for signtings, and overlay on google map....
Realtime data with automatic update.
Additional data sources added.
The 'How-to' video
This youTube video runs through all the basics and how to use the forecast service and it's a great place to start on understanding the key indicators to look for.
(Please note due to NOAA changes some features in this video are no longer available). Video available here.
This app will load with the following default variables on the chart:
Bz, The magnetic Z field vector recorded at the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), 1.5 million km from earth. Auroras are more likely if the Bz is negative. Since DSCOVR is 1.5 Million Km's from Earth we have about a 1 hour window to forecast it's arrival. If Bz is below 0 it's a good sign, the lower the better. This variable can not be turned off.
Bt, The Total Magnetic vector, Bz can never greater than this, so it can help to identify what the current maximum the Bz can swing to. If Bt is 10 then Bz can not be lower than -10 or greater than +10.
GOES-15, The Magnetic Field strength recorded from the GOES satellite(s), they are relatively close to earth ~35,000km. If this value is dipping to match Bz or swinging a lot it's a good sign there are strong magnetic fields at play.
User Comments, Other users can report a sighting using the 'Report' Aurora Page. User Comments and their location will appear on the chart as a vertical bar. This is a useful feature because sometimes there can be an aurora even when the data just does not add up :)
The chart when used to view live data has 3 sections:
'Historical' data, this is the area to the left of the blue bar. You can use this area to look at recent data, events, and trends.
'Current' data, this is the area within the blue bar, marked as "Earth Now". Values in this box should be occurring in real time (+/- 5 mins).
'Forecasted' data, this is the area to the right of the blue bar. This is ACE satellite data that has been converted to a forecast arrival time based upon current solar conditions at the ACE satellite.
As time progresses the forecasted data will move slowly into the blue area (Now), and eventually into the Historical section. Pressing the refresh button periodically will update the graph and you will be able to see this occur.
How Do I Use It?
Look for 'events' in the forecast period, such as a big Bz drop, then use the time below to roughly see when it's due to arrive at Earth. Press refresh to monitor the event as it moves closer to 'Earth Now'. Once it moves into the area of the blue bar it should be 'roughly' occurring in real time (+/- 5mins).
Within the 'Customise' page you can change what data is displayed on the chart, some important additional data that may be of use:
Solar Wind Speed, This is how fast the magnetic field and proton are moving recorded at the ACE space craft. The faster the solar winds the better.
Proton Density, This is how dense the solar winds are, recorded as the number of protons per cubic cm, again the denser the better.
GOES-13, An additional Satellite for local magnetic data, GOES-13 and GOES-15 operate in a geo-synchronous orbit on opposite sides of the Earth.
POES Levels, If required you can set the chart to ignore NOAA Power levels less than a particular value to reduce clutter on the chart.
Need more information?
If you have any questions or feedback
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DSCOVR feeds added, ACE Removed. v1.7
Made Bz an option.
Added Highs and Lows.
Updated Visual Prob. v1.4
Added feature to remove Graph Legends. v1.4
Various graphic / style changes. v1.4
Fixed Youtube autostarting issue. v1.31
Dynamic Pressure. v1.3
Fixed Y Axis Scaling. v1.3
Small improvements to the Visual Prob line. v1.2
Fixed a few Bugs. v1.2
Moved to bigger server. v1.2
Visual Probability added. v1.1
Kp Index information added. v1.1