Aurora Alert for September 26 and 27!

by Nancy Atkinson on September 26, 2011

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Predicted auroral oval over the North Pole, for Sept. 27, 2011. Credit: NOAA Space Weather Center

Skywatchers in northern Europe are already seeing some aurora activity as a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm is in progress, according to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center and SpaceWeather.com. The fuel for this storm was a coronal mass ejection over the weekend that has now reached Earth. This is great news for skywatchers, as both the Northern and Southern lights should be spectacular. But this is not so good news for satellite companies. The Goddard Space Weather Lab reports a “strong compression of Earth’s magnetosphere. Simulations indicate that solar wind plasma [has penetrated] close to geosynchronous orbit starting at 13:00 UT.” Geosynchronous satellites could therefore be directly exposed to solar wind plasma and magnetic fields.

Predicted auroral oval over the South Pole, for Sept. 27, 2011. Credit: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

The active region on the Sun will be pointed straight at Earth in few days as the Sun rotates, so this could be a week of high auroral activity. If you are able to capture images, send the to Universe Today via email or upload them to our Flickr page, and we’ll share them! See an image below of the Sun from September 25, 2011, showing the Active Region 1302, courtesy of John Chumack.


For more information and updates see the links above, or the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The Full Solar Disk in Hydrogen Alpha Light 09-25-2011. Credit: John Chumack. Click for larger version on Flickr.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Anonymous September 27, 2011 at 1:07 AM

Awesome! It’s like a Death Star’s superlaser pointing at us! Will it shoot? Place your bets. ;)

buddy September 27, 2011 at 4:21 AM

it already did…..

Anonymous September 27, 2011 at 10:40 AM

That was nothing yet buddy as it was not pointing at us directly. As for now… if it shoots it’s going to get really colorful, not only at far north/south. NOAA bets 40% for X-flare in next 24h! Raise?

Anonymous September 27, 2011 at 7:40 AM

Just an aside: Since UT has also readers from other parts of the world, would it be possible to show a map with the predictions for the rest of the world?

Thank you!

Anonymous September 27, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Here’s a view from North Pole and South Pole.

Anonymous September 28, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Thanks for the updates! :-)

Anonymous September 27, 2011 at 4:26 PM

I was wondering why my fillings were starting to ‘taste’ funny….

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