For many of us, this is the first break in the weather we’ve seen for quite some time. Of course, when opportunity knocks, you’ve got to be there to open the door… and today John Chumack took the opportunity to point his Baader solar filter film equipped 10″ SCT and Canon Rebel camera the Sun’s way…
If you’ve had the opportunity to follow solar activity, you’ve seen some major sunspots come and go over the last couple of weeks. Now the next bad boy in line is 1164. Just take a look at its progression in this movie from SDO/HMI. Growing sunspot 1164 has a complex “beta-gamma” magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares. Not just an off chance, either… but a 35% chance over the next two days. But that’s not all that’s going on!
According to Spaceweather.com “A solar wind stream hit Earth’s magnetic field during the early hours of March 1st. The impact sparked a geomagnetic storm that was, at first, minor, but the storm has been intensifying throughout the day. Spotters are now reporting auroras over Northern Ireland, Latvia, Norway, and Sweden. If trends continue, the display could spread to the high latitudes of North America after nightfall. ”
So how do you see aurora? Like John, you’ve got to be there when opportunity knocks! Be outside around nightfall and keep watch loosely to the north. Aurora can appear like distant search lights, reddish clouds or even ghostly green patches of mist. They appear and disappear… Somtimes you can see stars through them and sometimes the aurora is bright enough to block the starlight. Depending on where the auroral oval is at, you can see them to the north, north-east or north-west. There have even been times when the oval has shifted enough that they appear to the south!
Answer the door… it just might be for you!