Aurora forecast

The northern lights, or aurora borealis, are caused when particles streaming from the Sun strike the Earth's atmosphere. Solar activity is very difficult to predict -- you often get only one or two day's notice between the eruption of a solar storm and the aurora.

But Charles Deehr, Professor of Physics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has noticed a couple of recent "coronal holes" on the Sun that have been more stable than usual. Assuming these stay active, they could lead to aurora activity on the following dates:

Jan 15-22
Jan 29-Feb 6
Feb 12-19
Feb 25-Mar 2
Mar 11-18
Mar 24-30.

Deehr categorizes these events as "moderately active," meaning they may not be visible from the United States (or only the very northernmost part, above the 45th parallel). But if you're planning a trip to Canada or Alska during these times, look to the sky around midnight and tell us what you see.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Want aurora warnings by phone or e-mail. You can sign up at SpaceWeather Phone.

When auroras appear over your hometown, your phone will ring. When the space station is about to fly over your back yard, your phone will ring. When planets align ... you get the idea. The voice you hear will be Dr. Tony Phillips telling you what to look for and when.

Each phone call comes with a simultaneous email message, so if you miss part of your call or can't remember the details--just check your email for the full story!

posted on Mon, 01/15/2007 - 10:26am
Malika's picture
Malika says:

I am living in a Minnesota, Brainerd area and i would like to know when the best time is to see the northen lights this fall and/or winter. We would be willing to drive up to 250 miles in any direction, for the best sighting possible.

looking forward to hearing from you soon
[email protected]

posted on Sat, 09/22/2007 - 8:07pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

As I understand it, northern/southern lights are driven by activity on the Sun, a phenomenon that is poorly understood. There is no "aurora season."

You can go to website of the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska and sign up for their aurora alert e-mails. Whenever they notice activity on the Sun, they alert members to watch for auroras. You generally get only a day's notice or so.


posted on Sun, 09/23/2007 - 7:11pm

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