Earth's skies may dance in auroral green St. Patrick's Day
I've got green on my mind and it's not because I'm Irish. On March 15 a magnetic filament - a strand of solar flame silhouetted...
I've got green on my mind and it's not because I'm Irish. On March 15 a magnetic filament - a strand of solar flame silhouetted against the sun's brilliant disk - erupted in a long-duration flare that sent a blast of solar plasma directly toward the Earth. Traveling at 2 million miles per hour, the cloud of high-speed electrons and protons will slam up against our planet's magnetic bubble and possibly touch off an auroral storm.
Minor auroras are forecast for mid-northern latitudes tonight March 16 with a chance for a major storm on Sunday. If you live in the Arctic, get ready for a good show - chances for a major to severe storm stand at 70% Sunday (20% for mid-latitudes).
These are the best numbers I've seen in some time, so be on the lookout this weekend for green rays step-dancing across the northern sky.
As always, keep an eye on the Kp index and the extent of the auroral oval , both of which are useful indicators of auroral activity. If the Kp index bar is colored red (equal to 5 or more), there's a good chance auroras are out at least for the northern U.S. and southern Canada.
As I write this in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the index is already rising and auroras appear to be pushing into the far northern U.S. If it wasn't for a heavy snow falling, I'd go out for a look-see right now. More updates later today.