Coronal Hole Prompts G1 Aurora Watch for Sat/Sun March 3rd and 4th

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Northern Lights Now – SWPC has posted a G1 geomagnetic storm watch for Sunday, March 6, 2016. This means global Kp could reach five prompting aurora to be visible at upper mid-latitudes. The expected activity is a result of the high speed solar wind from a coronal hole that was pointed toward Earth on March 2nd. As the high speed solar wind arrives, the charged particles it carries bombard and disturb the Earth’s magnetosphere leading to northern lights. Here’s an image of the coronal hole that as it was pointed towards Earth late on March 2nd:

Coronal hole is the dark area shown here in AIA 211 imagery from SDO
Coronal hole is the dark area shown here in AIA 211 imagery from SDO

As of Friday evening, SWPC is predicting the peak period of activity to arrive between 3:00AM and 6:00AM GMT on Sunday (10:00pm Saturday night to 1:00AM Sunday morning EST). NLN expects the wind speeds to start increasing around midnight GMT. The NLN AuroraCast shows the expected time periods of activity over the next three days:

AuroraCast clock depicts the expected timing of increased aurora activity - G1 is the orange area from 10pm to 1am EST
AuroraCast clock depicts the expected timing of increased aurora activity – G1 is the orange area from 10pm to 1am EST

Happy Hunting!