NASA’s Space Weather site is the place to go for Aurora Borealis forecasting as they help make sense of the data the space agency receives about solar flares and their impact on earth’s atmosphere. Yesterday they gave Northern Lights watchers a lot of hope with this news:
This morning, Jan. 23rd around 0359 UT, big sunspot 1402 erupted, producing a long-duration M9-class solar flare. The explosion’s M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being an X-flare, the most powerful kind. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare’s extreme ultraviolet flash (shown right or in short movie right here)
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft detected a CME rapidly emerging from the blast site: movie. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the leading edge of the CME will reach Earth on Jan. 24 at 14:18UT (+/- 7 hours).
That means it’s hitting the Earth 11 AM – 6 PM EST, but this level of intensity makes the Northern Lights a real possibility for the next couple of days so definitely LOOK UP tonight and tomorrow if there’s any break in the clouds! If the northern lights hit, our Northern Lights Log will light up with reports. You can also learn a lot more about the Northern Lights at Michigan in Pictures.
One person who will be looking up is Shawn Malone of Lake Superior Photo. She takes some of the most amazing northern lights photos. See them at her website and definitely favorite her Facebook page as there’s lots of great photos and discussion about the Aurora and other UP topics. Shawn has put together a very cool time-lapse of the aurora borealis peaking out through the fog moving in as the full moon illuminates the Superior shore that ends with a fogbow – enjoy!