" />
Science

Thanksgiving coronal mass ejections will bring the Aurora Borealis further south than normal

Thanksgiving coronal mass ejections will bring the Aurora Borealis further south than normal

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has issued a Geomagnetic Disturbance Alert in the past few minutes advising the public to expect an increase in geomagnetic activity in the atmosphere over the next 48 hours.  The advisory comes as NASA releases an image of one of two coronal mass ejections (CME) recorded on Thanksgiving.

What does this mean?  The BGS is reporting that on November 20 and 21 the Sun released two coronal mass ejections (CME).  When these hit the atmosphere on Friday and Saturday night they will cause the Aurora Borealis to be visible further south than usual.  NASA says that more could be on the way in the near future.

The US Government’s Space Weather Prediction Centre (SPWC) describes the CMEs as minor to moderate and NASA says they will not be powerful enough to knock out electrical equipment or interfere with satellites or GPS systems.  The SPWC says;

“SWPC forecasters expect G1 (Minor) to G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storming beginning midday on November 23rd. The Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) was associated with a solar flare from NOAA Region 1618 that peaked at the R1 (Minor) level on November 21 at 1530 GMT (1030am EST). Region 1618 continues to grow and has potential to produce more activity in the coming days”

The BGS expects that people living in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Northern England will be able to view the Northern Lights tonight.  The organisation says;

Depending the size of the resulting geomagnetic storm this activity could result in enhanced auroral displays and an increased chance of seeing them at lower than usual latitudes. Those in Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland are likely to have the best chances, assuming clear dark skies.

NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) caught this image of the CME (visible on the bottom and bottom left of the disc) when it was released.

NASA CME coronagraph

NASA CME coronagraph. Credit: ESA&NASA/SOHO

As the Sun reaches its 11 year solar maximum in 2013 the BGS is expecting to see an increase in the number of CMEs and consequently the Aurora should be visible further south than normal more often.

If you want to catch a view of the Aurora the BGS advises;

  • Find a dark place away from street lights.
  • You will need a cloud-free sky.
  • In general, look to the north although it could be overhead or elsewhere.
  • In general, for the best chance of sighting an aurora, try to look during the hours around local midnight (22:00-02:00). However geomagnetic activity can happen at any time!

Featured image; Credit: bigstockphoto.com

View Comments (2)

2 Comments

  1. darrenmccarra

    November 23, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    @toplyss I know, but some other time hopefully! Northern Lights are on my list

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving coronal mass ejections will bring the Aurora Borealis … | Solar Flare 2012

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Science
@pdscott

Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).

More in Science

virtual reality doctor

VR is shifting how we experience anxiety, surgery, pain, and games

Lisa ShipleyDecember 8, 2017
AI, Musk, neuralink, healthtech, neurotechnology

Nexeon’s neurotechnology in the fight against our aging bodies

Ben AllenDecember 7, 2017
cryptocurrency, advertising, hacking, science, research, mining

Parasitic cryptocurrency mining, ad revenue and volunteer computing, a 3-sided coin

Ben AllenNovember 6, 2017
edtech stem

New STEM edtech platform provides training for coveted and in-demand jobs

Peter AndringaOctober 27, 2017
space construction

Space: humanity’s new construction site

Omar ElorfalyOctober 9, 2017
Dream big, think small: how a farm boy made cancer-killing robots real

Dream big, think small: how a farm boy made cancer-killing robots real

Daniel SanchezAugust 31, 2017
decision algorithms

Humans might not always make the best decisions, but algorithms can

Nicolas WaddellAugust 30, 2017
nasa cassini saturn

NASA Cassini probe to go out with a blast after 20 years, plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere

Omar ElorfalyAugust 21, 2017
smartphone doctor hospital tech

Are smartphones the future of medicine?

Daniel SanchezAugust 15, 2017