Coronal Hole High Speed Stream Means Possible Aurora Dec 6 2014

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KP value readings have been between 4 and 5.33 this evening. This means possible aurora in northern Europe, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and the northern United States.

Tonight’s active space weather is primarily the result of a large coronal hole in the southern hemisphere of the Sun. It was pointed towards Earth about 3 days ago. Coronal holes elevate the solar wind speed, and higher wind speeds make geomagnetic storming more likely. Here’s an image of the coronal hole in SDO AIA 211 wavelength from December 4, 2014 – two days ago. You can see the dark area in the southern hemisphere very clearly.

Coronal Hole
Clear Southern hemisphere Coronal Hole in AIA 211 from 12/4/2014

Tonight that wind is arriving at Earth. We’re seeing Wind Speeds recorded at the ACE satellite of over 750 km/sec. This chart of the last two hours of solar wind speed is from SpaceWeatherLive.com as measured by the ACE Satellite.

Solar Wind Speed is elevated from CH HSS arrival
Solar Wind Speed is elevated from CH HSS arrival

We’ve been watching the KP flirt with storm level all evening on our Real-time live KP charts. The higher the KP goes, the more likely places further south are to see the Northern Lights.

As exciting as it is that there may be aurora tonight, there is one major factor making it hard to see the show. It is a full moon – the Cold Moon. The moon will be high and bright. Any additional light in the skies makes it harder to see the faint glow of Aurora.

Happy hunting!