The Sun Online and solar activity. May 6, 2014

Solar activity has been dominated by Catania group 36 (NOAA AR 2051) which is about to turn around the west limb and which produced an M1.8 flare peaking at 9:03 UT as well as a C7.1 flare peaking at 4:32 UT. A newly emerging region on the east limb (Catania group 43, NOAA AR 2056) produced a C8 flare peaking at 18:28 UT. Only a couple of further low level C flares were reported. Over the coming days flaring activity is expected to continue in the C level with also a possibility for M flares. There was a CME associated with the M1.8 flare but preliminary coronagraph data seem to indicate a rather restricted angular width which together with the source location leads to expect it not to be geoeffective.  The solar wind speed dropped to a low of around 340 km/s to increase to a maximum of around 420 km/s just before the sector boundary crossing around 22:00 UT after which speeds have been fluctuating in the 350 to 400 km/s range. The total magnetic field decreased and is now stable in the 4nT to 6nT range. Bz varied between -7nT and 5nT, and is, after the sector boundary crossing, fluctuating in the -2nT to 4nT range. There are yet no signs of the possible arrival of the May 3 CME, expected later today or early tomorrow. Geomagnetic activity has diminished from quiet to unsettled at the start of the reporting period to quiet at the end of the reporting period. Geomagnetic activity may increase to unsettled or possibly active if/when the May 3 CME arrives late May 6 or early May 7.