Tag Archives: Aurora

80% chance of polar geomagnetic storms Friday

Space Weather News for August 3, 2017

GEOMAGNETIC STORM WATCH: NOAA forecasters say there is an 80% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Aug. 4th when a solar wind stream is expected to buffet Earth’s magnetic field. The wind is flowing from a canyon-shaped hole in the sun’s atmosphere, so wide that it is almost bisecting the solar disk. Storm levels could reach G2-category (moderately strong) during the late hours of Aug. 4th, subsiding to G1-category (minor) on Aug. 5th. Visit Spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

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Above: A canyon-shaped coronal hole (CH) is spewing solar wind toward Earth. This extreme ultraviolet image was taken by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.


Space Weather News for July 21, 2017

CME SWEEPS ASIDE COSMIC RAYS: On July 16th, a CME hit Earth’s magnetic field, sparking two days of geomagnetic storms and beautiful auroras. The solar storm cloud also swept aside some of the cosmic rays currently surrounding our planet. A sudden decrease in deep space radiation was detected by a global network of neutron monitors as well as a space weather balloon in the stratosphere over California. Almost a week later, cosmic rays are finally returning to normal. Learn more about this event on today’s edition of Spaceweather.com.

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Above: This CME, blown into space by sunspot AR2665 on July 14th, reached Earth two days later and blew away many of the cosmic rays surrounding our planet. Image credit: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO)

Potential for Aurora Display!

Space Weather News for July 14, 2017

STRONG SOLAR FLARE AND CME: After days of suspenseful quiet, huge sunspot AR2665 finally erupted on July 14th (0209 UT), producing a powerful M2-class solar flare. The explosion was underway for more than two hours and hurled a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. Geomagnetic storms and high-latitude auroras are likely when the CME arrives this weekend. Visit Spaceweather.com for images and updates.

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Above: The July 14th solar flare, recorded by extreme ultraviolet telescopes on board NASA’s Solar Dynamics Obse

Long Range Sensors Detect…

  • Possible aurora display this weekend
  • Citizen scientists are closing in on Planet Nine
  • Moon of Saturn has hydrogen and water

Possible aurora display this weekend: A magnetic filament on the sun exploded on April 9th, hurling a gaseous coronal mass ejection (CME) into space. The bulk of the CME will miss Earth; nevertheless a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field is possible this weekend. The impact, if it occurs, could cause magnetic disturbances and auroras around our planet’s poles. Visit today’s edition of Spaceweather.com to view a movie of the instigating explosion and for updates as the CME approaches.
Citizen scientists are closing in on Planet Nine : The Australian team are working in tandem with the public to search for what could possibly be one of the biggest discoveries of the century: a new, very massive planet. In 2016, Caltech astronomer Mike Brown and theoretical astrophysicist Konstantin Batygin announced that they’d found evidence of a massive planet orbiting far off in the annex of the solar system with a predicted orbit of 20,000 years.  Its presence is inferred from the orbit of several Kuiper Belt Objects which have dramatic orbits.  READ MORE

Moon of Saturn has hydrogen and water:  In what is likely to be its final big discovery before it plunges into the gas giant planet Saturn later this year, the NASA spacecraft Cassini has discovered what could be a habitable ocean environment on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s dozens of moons.  The discovery, reported in the journal Science and announced by NASA Thursday, shows there is hydrogen in the massive plumes of gases and water that explode like geysers from Enceladus’s south pole, out of geological features known as “tiger stripes.”   READ MORE from Montreal Gazette And from  Astronomy Magazine:  Researchers published a paper last year suggesting that hydrothermal vents were the source of life on Earth, where chemical reactions fed these early microbes. If that’s the case on Enceladus, the ocean may have microbial life at the very least.  “The hydrogen could be a potential source of chemical energy for any microbes living in Enceladus’ ocean,” Spilker says.
Of course, it may be years or even decades until we know for sure — in September, NASA will intentionally crash Cassini into Saturn to make sure it doesn’t crash land into Titan or Enceladus and accidentally contaminate either potentially habitable moon with Earth bacteria.   Read More from Astronomy Magazine

Long Range Sensors Detect…

1) Space Station visible tonight in Montreal
2) Possible Aurora Display
3) Mars, Venus, & Crescent Moon
4) Scorched Apollo 1 hatch on display after 50 years


1) Space Station visible tonight in Montreal  Time: Tue Jan 31 6:37 PM, Visible: 2 min, Max Height: 80°, Appears: 28° above WSW, Disappears: 62° above NE

2) A BIG HOLE IN THE SUN’S ATMOSPHERE: A large, canyon-shaped hole has opened in the sun’s atmosphere, and it is spewing a stream of solar wind toward Earth.  Polar geomagnetic storms are likely when the fast-moving stream arrives, probably on Feb 1st. Visit today’s edition of Spaceweather.com for more information.

3) SUNSET SKY SHOW: For the next two nights, watch the southwestern sky at sunset. Mars, Venus and the crescent Moon are converging for a beautiful gathering in the evening twilight.  Visit Spaceweather.com for sky maps and photos.

4) Scorched Apollo 1 hatch on display after 50 years :  A memorable space tragedy’s artifact has been locked away, but after 50 years, will finally be taken out of storage.  READ MORE

Long Range Scanners detect…

  1.   This week’s observing highlights
  2.  Aurora Alert: Possible CME impact on the 9th
  3.   China’s Radio Telescope goes on line
  4.  Curiosity finds a meteorite on Mars
  1. This week’s observing highlights:








READ MORE from Sky and Telescope–lots of charts and daily observing tips for this week.

2)  Aurora Alert: Possible CME impact on the 8th,  SpaceWeather.com   A magnetic filament on the sun erupted Nov. 5th, hurling a cloud of debris into space. NOAA forecasters say the resulting coronal mass ejection (CME, movie) could strike Earth’s magnetic field on Nov. 8th. G1-class gromagnetic storms and bright Arctic auroras are possible when the CME arrives. Free: Aurora Alerts

china-radio-telescope3) China’s Radio Telescope goes on line:  The world’s largest radio telescope began searching for signals from stars and galaxies and, perhaps, extraterrestrial life Sunday in a project demonstrating China’s rising ambitions in space and its pursuit of international scientific prestige….Measuring 500 metres in diameter, the radio telescope is nestled in a natural basin within a stunning landscape of lush green karst formations in southern Guizhou province. It took five years and $180 million US to complete and surpasses that of the 300-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, a dish used in research on stars that led to a Nobel Prize.  (Meanwhile, the Arecibo might be mothballed for lack of funds, more in a later post.) READ MORE

pia211344) Curiosity finds a meteorite on Mars: The dark, smooth-surfaced rock at the center of this Oct. 30, 2016, image from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover was examined with laser pulses and confirmed to be an iron-nickel meteorite. It is about the size of a golf ball.   READ MORE


In case the sky should ever clear…  this storm may last another day or so.

LIVE AURORA WEBCAM: Skies above Scandinavia are glowing green in response to today’s geomagnetic storm. An aurora webcam at the Abisko National Park in Sweden is broadcasting the light show in real time. Watch it now.

Space Weather News for Oct. 25, 2016
STRONG GEOMAGNETIC STORM: A strong “G3-class” geomagnetic storm is underway on Oct. 25th as Earth enters a fast-moving stream of solar wind. The arrival of the solar wind stream was predicted, but the intensity of the resulting storm is greater than forecast. Tonight, Northern Lights around the Arctic Circle should be bright, and the glow could descend to northern-tier US states as well. Visit Spaceweather.com for more information.


First contact with the solar wind stream produced this outburst of auroras over Fairbanks AK on Oct. 25th. Photo credit: Marketa S. Murray.

Tonight: ISS passing over Montreal, possible aurora

  1. ISS over Montreal:   Mon Oct 17 6:42 PM, Visible: 5 min, Max Height: 78°, Appears: 28° above WNW, Disappears: 10° above SE The weather report does not look promising, but if the clouds can hold off a while, the ISS is visible even through light polluted skies.

2) Montreal is not far enough north to get the best view of this storm, and it might cloud over, but you never know!  

GEOMAGNETIC STORMS UNDERWAY: G1-class geomagnetic storms are underway around the Arctic Circle on Oct. 16th as Earth enters a stream of very fast moving solar wind. Veteran observers in Sweden are reporting one of the best displays in recent memory as “massive auroras” dance across the sky. Visit Spaceweather.com for updates about the ongoing light show.

Earth is moving deeper into the solar wind stream, and another display is possible on Oct. 17-18.  A live webcam operated by Lights over Lapland in Abisko National Park is recording the action. Check it out.

Watch for Aurora on the night of the 20th

HERE COMES THE SOLAR WIND: The Arctic Circle is about to turn green. Forecasters say there is a good chance of bright auroras around the poles on Sept. 20th when a solar wind stream engulfs Earth’s magnetic field. Researchers have long known that auroras favour equinoxes. The timing of the stream could scarcely be better as it is expected to arrive only two days before the beginning of northern autumn. Visit http://spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

Sunspots and Aurora Watch

From Space Weather.com

AURORA WATCH: A solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth late on July 19th, and this could spark G1-class geomagnetic storms around the poles. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras, especially in the southern hemisphere where dark winter skies favour visibility of faint lights. [aurora gallery]

BIG SUNSPOTS: Solar activity has been low for months. This could soon change. Two big sunspot groups are directly facing Earth, and one of them has an unstable magnetic field that poses a threat for M-class solar flares. Bill Hrudey photographed the active regions on July 16th from Cayman islands:

“Sunspots AR2567 & AR2565 are great imaging targets surrounded by many granules,” says Hrudey.

What are granules? The sun is so hot, it literally boils. Granules are bumps on the boiling surface, much like the bumpy surface of water boiling on a hot stove. One difference: While the granules on your stove are only a few centimeters across, granules on the sun are as wide as Texas.

As if granules weren’t big enough, the primary dark cores of these sunspots are twice as wide as the entire Earth. Great targets indeed. If you have a solar telescope, take a look.