Solar activity monitoring and forecasting capabilities at Big Bear Solar Observatory

P. T. Gallagher, C. Denker, V. Yurchsyhyn, T. Spirock, J. Qiu, Haimin Wang, P. R. Goode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The availability of full-disk, high-resolution Hα images from Big Bear Solar Observatory (USA), Kanzelhöhe Solar Observatory (Austria), and Yunnan Astronomical Observatory (China) allows for the continual monitoring of solar activity with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. Typically, this Global Hα Network (GHN) provides almost uninterrupted Hα images with a cadence of 1 min and an image scale of 1" per pixel. Every hour, GHN images are transferred to the web-based BBSO Active Region Monitor (ARM;, which includes the most recent EUV, continuum, and magnetogram data from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, together with magnetograms from the Global Oscillation Network Group. ARM also includes a variety of active region properties from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center, such as up-to-date active region positions, GOES 5-min X-ray data, and flare identification. Stokes I, V, Q, and U images are available from the recently operational BBSO Digital Vector Magnetograph and the Vector Magnetograph at the Huairou Solar Observing Station of Beijing Observatory. Vector magnetograms provide complete information on the photospheric magnetic field, and allow for magnetic flux gradients, electric currents, and shear forces to be calculated: these measurements are extremely sensitive to conditions resulting in flaring activity. Furthermore, we have developed a Flare Prediction System which estimates the probability for each region to produce C-, M-, or X-class flares based on nearly eight years of NOAA data from cycle 22. This, in addition to BBSO's daily solar activity reports, has proven a useful resource for activity forecasting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1105-1115
Number of pages11
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Solar physics, astronomy and astrophysics (flares and mass ejections; instruments and techniques; photosphere and chromosphere)


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