SWPC Issues G1 Storm Watch for April 30, 2016

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Northern Lights Now – The Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G1 Geomagnetic storm watch for potential aurora on April 30. This means aurora may be visible for northern latitudes late on the 29th for North American viewers. The predicted display is due to the passing of high speed solar wind from a coronal hole. As of this writing, the period of expected activity is from around mightnight GMT until 9am GMT (or about sunset to early morning on the East Coast of North America). Here is the NLN’s auroraCast:

NLN Clock AuroraCast shows A period of expect G1 Storming early on April 30
NLN Clock AuroraCast shows A period of expect G1 Storming early on April 30

Two days of G1 storming Expected April 13 and 14

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Northern Lights Now – A large coronal hole was pointed directly towards Earth on April 9th and 10th. The high speed solar wind from that exposed area is should impact Earth on April 13 and 14. Space weather forecasters are expecting two consecutive days of geomagnetic storming. That could bring several opportunities for Aurora hunters to experience the Northern and Southern Lights. Here’s an image from SDO from late on April 9 in AIA 211, a wavelength that makes it easy to see coronal holes:

Large Earth directed Coronal hole may bring Aurora on April 13 and 14.
Large Earth directed Coronal hole may bring Aurora on April 13 and 14.

SWPC is calling for two periods of active Aurora (G1 level storming). The first period is early on April 13 and the second is Early on April 14. For North American Aurora viewers this is in prime evening viewing time. Europeans viewers will have to stay up past midnight. See the NLN Aurora cast for April 13 and 14. The data behind this infographic comes from the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder Colorado

NLN AuroraCast for April 13 and 14 shows when to expect G1 storming
NLN AuroraCast for April 13 and 14 shows when to expect G1 storming

Note: It is not an error that both days have the same profile throughout the day. The is what the forecasting models have predicted.

Happy Hunting!

Pair of Filament eruptions May produce Aurora April 10th and 11th

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Northern Lights Now – A pair of filament eruptions on April 6th likely produced CMEs that will impact Earth on April 10th and 11th, producing aurora. The first filament was about 15 degrees long along a NE-SW, with the SW terminus just to the NE of Active Region 2528. The eruption produced a wide arching and looping structure. Structures like these are often correlated with coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that have a “slinky” or coiled structure. The second, smaller filament, erupted from the southern hemisphere of the solar disk in Earth strike zone. If it did produce a CME, will likely be directed towards Earth. The two eruptions together mean there is an increased likelihood of aurora on April 10-11 as the solarstorms arrive.

In this animatedGIF (also shared on the NLN Twitter Account), watch the first filament eruption. Note the wide spread between the east and west side, and the apparent arcing between the two sides – particularly on the southern extent. The large bright area on at the southern end is active region 2528 (Beta). Towards the end of the loop, the launching Plasma material can be seen. It’s trajectory actually looks to be mosly to the North and West of the Earth-Sun line. If this storm does arrive at Earth, it will likely be a glancing blow. It is possible that additional material launched from the Eastern (right) side of the filament may not be visible in the imagery and directed towards Earth. LASCO imagary, coming available over the next 12 hours should confirm the extent and direction of the CME. Click either of the two video below for a zoomed in view.

Animated GIF shows First of two filament eruptions that produced CMEs that may impact Earth April 10 an 11.
Animated GIF shows First of two filament eruptions that produced CMEs that may impact Earth April 10 an 11.

The second eruption was much faster. The video below is taken from the last 3 hours of the same full-disk video as the one above. It is zoomed in to the central southern hemisphere of the visible disk and slowed to about half the speed. This is a fast eruption. Notice the dark area at the beginning of the clip, the eruption happens just to the north of this. It is a faint East to West wisp of plasma that lifts off temporarily hiding the dark area behind it. The eruption is in the Earth strike zone so, even though it is smaller, may have more impact on Earth than the second eruption.

The second of two related filament eruptions that may impact Earth April 10 and 11.
The second of two related filament eruptions that may impact Earth April 10 and 11.

Stay tuned to NLN for more updates on these two solar storms.

Happy Hunting!