Aurora At The Beach


As I write, Earth directed solar wind blows at 559.3 km/second. High speed solar wind is credited to sunspot AR2803 –

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Sunspot AR2803 – Solar Dynamics Observatory ( SDO )

Last night, Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films captured “Aurora at the Beach”, mesmerizing real time aurora majesty washed in waves tickling a stony beach. Treat yourself to Aurora at the Beach, follow Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films. –

Night Lights Films – Night Lights Films – YouTube

Below – screenshot of the current Aurora Oval illustrating the impact of high speed solar wind from AR2308. Centered at true magnetic North rather than geographical North Pole, the Aurora Oval widens or retreats at the command of space weather. Ovation Auroral Forecast – Auroral oval | SpaceWeatherLive.com is my go to aurora resource.

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SpaceWeather.com — News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids

Sunspot AR 1598


In the past few days sunspot AR 1598 has burped a number of significant flares. The latest a strong X1, disrupted high latitudes over Asia and Australia and could result in radio blackouts.

Picture an X1 flare like a Category 3 0r 4 hurricane. Depending on whether or not it makes landfall it could be Katrina , or nothing more than a nuisance for sea going vessels.

The solar wind is a relatively calm 350 km/sec so it’s doubtful this solar outburst will give us any spectacular Auroras. There is however a 75% chance of  M class and 20% of X in the next 24 – 48 hours. In the next few days AR 1598 will be facing earth, and doesn’t appear ready to settle down any time soon.

The following link is to the official solar alerts and warnings site. Updated every 10 minutes it’s an eye opening window into the havoc flares can cause. Click on any of the icons for a description of potential hazards.

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/warnings_timeline.html

Sunspot AR 1598 recorded by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, from spaceweather.com

All Flare, No Action


Two massive sunspots each one larger than our planet, are putting on a show.  Earth facing spots 1579 and 1582 are large enough to be viewed without aid. as long as haze or partial cloud cover filters the Sun’s intensity. While spectacular they a considered harmless, with very little chance of a flare.  Solar wind is currently a paltry 287 Km/second, so rest easy.

http://spaceweather.com/

Sunspots photographed by Lauri  Kangkas of Fort Francis, Ontario