Tonight into tomorrow, northern hemisphere sky watchers as far south as Iowa or Michigan to Washington State are on aurora alert. Auroras are caused by charged particles hitching a ride on solar wind, dark skies turn undulating curtains of mischievous colour when charged particles interact with molecules in our atmosphere. Usually, our magnetosphere acts as a planetary shield preventing geomagnetic interaction of charged particles. Every so often fast moving particles overwhelm our magnetic field, create an opening and light up night skies.
On May 12, a magnetic filament on the sun, seen here, became unstable and erupted. (NASA/SDO)
Since Monday, 3 additional solar eruptions sent fast moving charged particles our way. As a result the auroral oval (doughnut shaped ring around the pole where charged particles follow magnetic field lines, reason why far northern latitudes regularly witness geomagnetic storms), has shifted far to the south.
The northern lights as seen looking eastward from just east of Penzance, Sask., at 1:21 a.m. local time Tuesday morning. (Submitted by Notanee Bourassa)
The colour of that light depends on the kind of molecule and the altitude of the collision.
Green is the most common colour, produced when the particles collide with oxygen at an altitude of around 100 to 300 km. At about 300 to 400 km, the interaction with oxygen produces red. Pink occurs below 100 km when nitrogen atoms are struck.
Bottom line – Space Weather Prediction Centre forecasters say there’s a 75% chance of geomagnetic storm activity tonight. If your skies are clear, go outside. If she’s willing, Aurora will find you. Opportunities like this don’t come along every day.
Noctilucent clouds are a weather phenomenon unique to summer months at latitudes between 50 and 70 degrees north and south of the equator. Inhabiting the mesosphere at altitudes of 75-86 kilometers, science regards noctilucent as highest clouds in Earth’s atmosphere. Too faint to be seen in daylight, there’s good reason why they’re known as luminous or night shining clouds. Noctilucent clouds can only be illuminated by sunlight below the horizon at astronomical twilight when lower levels of the atmosphere are in Earth’s shadow. Learn more at – https://www.almanac.com/news/weather-news/it-came-outer-space
For immediate noctilucent gratification, ponder noctilucent perfection by Adrien Mauduit of Night Lights Films –
How about Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, Republican chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, tossing a snowball in February 2015?
“God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”
“The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,” he said.
Inhofe mocked Obama for saying climate change was a greater threat to Americans than terrorism. He spewed lists of terrorist atrocities and enemy nations, accusing the Obama administration of trivializing national security threats in favour of climate propaganda. Inhofe accused liberal news media of using climate propaganda to create fear.
Trump blames China, Inhofe calls on God – how does a reasonable person crack these nuts? Visual aides?
Gone are the days when skepticism demanded verifiable truth. Collective denial is a modern reality perpetuated by numskulls with money, power and political agendas oblivious to ramifications of climate apathy. That said, I stumbled upon a list of 197 climate myths at Skeptical Science. I challenge anyone to find a more complete, user friendly resource –
Meet anti-vaxxer extraordinaire Brittney Kara. According to her Amazon bio, Brittney is a master NLP practitioner (Neuro Linguistic Programming) hypnotherapist, nutrition coach, author and mother. https://www.amazon.com/Brittney-Kara/e/B00EJS3FEM
Anti-vaxxer jibber-jabber has Brittney to thank for a naturopathic epiphany of Biblical proportion – Vaccines are bad because God never mentioned them in the Bible. Seems Brittney decided to Google vaccines in the Bible, when no reference was found she went public. Watch a short video from https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNxt-Npm5rNEJ4ySRsilF1A
On April 5 NASA scientists launched sounding rocket mission AZURE (Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment) from Norway’s Andoya Space Center. Twin rockets deployed chemical tracers capable of allowing researchers to track the flow of neutral and charged particles during an active geomagnetic storm. Emergency service switchboards were inundated with UFO sighting hysteria – seems no one bothered to alert residents of AZURE’s chemical meddling.
Lights over Lapland webcam operator Chad Blakely captured the first chemical puffs. Video below from Adrien Mauduit documents the spectacle.
This evening, gloriously bruised skies created a twilight ponder. Twilight struck with realization most of us take her mesmerizing palette for granted. Far from a cosmic constant, twilight requires atmosphere to scatter rays of light in advance and conclusion of a visible Sun above the horizon.
Civil twilight falls when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. In the morning this is known as dawn, in the evening, dusk. This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished; at the beginning of morning civil twilight, or end of evening civil twilight, the horizon is clearly defined and the brightest stars are visible under good atmospheric conditions in the absence of moonlight or other illumination. In the morning before the beginning of civil twilight and in the evening after the end of civil twilight, artificial illumination is normally required to carry on ordinary outdoor activities.
Nautical twilight begins when the Sun is 12 degrees below the horizon. At the beginning or end of nautical twilight, under good atmospheric conditions and in the absence of other illumination, general outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but detailed outdoor operations are not possible, and the horizon is indistinct.
Astronomical twilight defines a Sun 18 degrees below the horizon. Before the beginning of astronomical twilight in the morning and after the end of astronomical twilight in the evening the Sun does not contribute to sky illumination; for a considerable interval after the beginning of morning twilight and before the end of evening twilight, sky illumination is so faint that it is practically imperceptible.
Civil, nautical, astronomical, three clearly defined twilights that forgot to mention – twilight is also a colour, emotion and source of cosmic wonder unique to our planet.
From Adrien Mauduit at the Aurora observatory, Senja Island, Norway on March 17, 2019…
“It all started at around 10:00pm LT. Almost nothing until then when all of a sudden a big band appeared in the south. Around 10:30pm LT, a very nice show happened with some colorful and fast moving coronas.”
Adrien Mauduit is a visionary, an artist who captures the essence of Aurora in mesmerizing detail. Join me in appreciation of his vision by clicking on the link below and following Adrien Mauduit.