Understanding Maximum Geomagnetic Latitude and Auroral Ovals

The Max textbox in the GeoMag panel of DXView's Main window displays the maximum magnetic latitude encountered by a signal traversing the short or long path from your QTH to the selected position. This parameter is relevant because it indicates the likelihood of auroral interaction -- the higher the maximum geomagnetic latitude, the more likely a signal is to traverse the auroral zones.

The earth's magnetic poles do not align with its geographic poles, and are in fact moving. In 2005, the geomagnetic north pole was estimated to be at 82 18' N, 113 24' W. Interaction between the stream of charged particles emitted by our sun and the earth's magnetic field produces auroral zones over the earth's north and south geomagnetic poles. The auroral zones expand and contract as a function of the intensity and orientation of this particle stream. KN4LF provides a nice discussion of the impact of these zones on propagation, excerpted below:

To configure DXView to display the estimated position of the auroral zone boundaries (based on the K-index and time-of-day) on its world map, check the Auroral zones box in the World Map window's Map panel; then you'll directly see the likely interaction experienced by a paricularly signal.


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