Aug
03
2010

Light show in the northern skies possible tonight

Aurora borealis above Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, MN: The white streak visible in the lower right of the timed exposure is an aircraft taking off from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
Aurora borealis above Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, MN: The white streak visible in the lower right of the timed exposure is an aircraft taking off from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.Courtesy Mark Ryan
Old Sol could be stirring up the atmosphere this evening with a display of northern lights (aurora borealis). Scientists have recorded a significant burst of plasma shooting from the Sun’s surface that could mean we earthlings are in for a light show tonight or early Wednesday morning. The solar wind particles are headed right toward us, and when they reach the Earth’s magnetic field they’ll interact with atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere and - hopefully - produce glowing sheets and fingers of green, red, blue, or even yellow in a wonderful display in the northern skies. The southern hemisphere experiences the same phenomenon but down there it’s known as the aurora australis (southern lights).

Lately, here in the Twin Cities, the air has been supersaturated with humidity so I don’t know how crisp a view we’ll get but it could be worth stepping outside tonight to see what’s up.

SOURCE and LINKS
CNN.com report
Univ. of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute Aurora Forecast page
Michigan Tech’s Aurora page
Solar flares

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Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that is so beutiful

posted on Tue, 08/03/2010 - 11:20am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

THATS SO BEUTIFUL

posted on Tue, 08/03/2010 - 12:42pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

UPDATE: A radio report I heard on the way home from the museum this afternoon said tonight's expected northern lights display from the Sun's recent CME (coronal mass ejection) has been pushed back until early tomorrow (Wednesday, Aug. 4). This report at Boston.com seems to confirm the delay. The plasma from the solar flare is traveling toward Earth at something like one million miles an hour and is now estimated to hit our atmosphere in four waves between 3 a.m Wednesday and 2 a.m Thursday. That's okay with me since it's overcast in Minneapolis tonight, and an approaching cold front should help clear and freshen our muggy air for viewing.

posted on Tue, 08/03/2010 - 6:38pm
Shana's picture
Shana says:

Did anyone see the wave this morning?

posted on Wed, 08/04/2010 - 7:41am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

I was asleep, but I hope to get out there tonight to see what's cookin'.

posted on Wed, 08/04/2010 - 10:18am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

wat time is it gonna be at the sky

posted on Wed, 08/04/2010 - 8:10pm

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