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Solar Flare & Geomagnetic Storm Means Auroras Pretty Far South.

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The sun on Monday morning unleashed a hug M9 Class solar flare. This flared launched a earth directed CME or Coronal Mass Ejection. This always sounds scary but it really isn’t unless you are a satellite. These CME’s and flares can disrupt or damage communications satellites and interfere with other electronic devices. But they also can bring stunning and beautiful auroras deep into the the mid-latitudes. Sometimes even the lower latitudes. Tonight and for the next 24 hours the CME will be interacting with our upper atmosphere and the results could be stunning for sky watchers, maybe even in and around the Carolinas.

m9-solar-flare-jan-2012

We won’t know for sure until tonight in the hours just before. I will post this map which will update automatically showing the aurora envelope in real-time based on satellites and observations.

Real-time Aurora Ovation

(This image and information below is courtesy of NOAA and spaceweather.gov.)

The Display: Shows the intensity and location of the aurora as expected for the time shown at the bottom of the map. This forecast is based on current solar wind conditions and the average time for the solar wind to propagate from the ACE satellite at L1 to Earth.

The model produces an estimate of the intensity of the aurora. In this product a linear relationship between intensity and viewing probability is assumed. This relationship was validated by comparison with data from the UVI instrument on the NASA POLAR Satellite .

The sunlit side of Earth is indicated by the lighter blue of the ocean. The sub-solar point is also shown as a yellow dot but only if the sub-solar point is in the view of the choosen image. The day-night line orterminator is shown as a yellow line. Note that the Aurora will not be visible during daylight hours and it may be an hour or more before sunrise or after sunset that the aurora can be seen from the ground.

____ The red line about 1000 km equatorward of the aurora indicates how far away viewers on the ground might see the aurora assuming good viewing conditions.

Other great links:

http://www.spaceweather.com/

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

http://www.meteorwatch.org/

  • Lin Gohl

    Awesome ,thanks for this!

    • Anonymous

      you are welcome.

  • http://twitter.com/mcallisters Sara McAllister

    Crossing my fingers! You’re the best Brad.

    • Anonymous

      thanks Sara, I hope we can see them too.

  • Lin Gohl

    will you be updating on FB , if there is a chance to see them?

    • Anonymous

      I sure will…. once I start getting confirmation of them showing up I’ll post there too.

  • http://twitter.com/Ridgekeeper Cynthia Wadsworth

    At 9pm the viewing line appears to be far away. I wonder if this will move later tonight or perhaps tomorrow night?

    • Anonymous

      seems to not be moving, tomorrow should be good as well but tonight will be the peak.

      • http://twitter.com/Ridgekeeper Cynthia Wadsworth

        Sounds like a midnight road trip toward Virginia, LOL.

  • Anonymous

    The Auroras were a bust last night in the U.S. The storm subsided as it crossed the Atlantic and fell apart by the time it reached North America. The peak really occurred over in Europe. The sun is still in a very active pattern and more flares are likely in the coming weeks and months. In the mean time here is a picture gallery from over in Europe. Enjoy! http://spaceweather.com/submissions/large_image_popup.php?image_name=Andy-Keen-IMG_1235_1327467287.jpg