Good Wednesday everyone!
Yes, I missed it again. I missed the beautiful array of Northern Lights Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. The beautiful, natural wonder was visible in a lot of locations. I'm sure there are more places, but I know I have read confirmed reports from the Champlain Islands, top of Mount Washington, and Northeast Kingdom. I put a few of the pictures on the left here, go ahead, click on the plus sign or just click on the picture and it will get bigger for you to see. The pictures are courtesy Mount Washington Observatory (top 3) then NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, followed by James Sinko from Lyndon State College.
This was the headline on the Space Weather Prediction Center Wednesday morning:
"2012-11-14 03:56 UTC Energized Solar Wind
A prolonged period of southward interplanetary magnetic field brought G2 (Moderate) Geomagnetic Storm conditions early on November 14 (UTC), evening hours November 13 (EST). This condition, in the wake of a CME passage, may persist for a few more hours. Check here for updates."
Say what? In other words a solar flare came off the sun late Monday/early Tuesday and the energy from that made it to earth about a day later. We experienced a G2 storm, G short for Geomagnetic Storm. This happens about 60 times a year, or once every 6 days on average. Here is what it does:
Power systems: high-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms, long-duration storms may cause transformer damage.
Spacecraft operations: corrective actions to orientation may be required by ground control; possible changes in drag affect orbit predictions.
Other systems: HF radio propagation can fade at higher latitudes, and aurora has been seen as low as New York and Idaho (typically 55° geomagnetic lat.)**.
*Courtesy the Space Weather Prediction Center/NOAA*
Will we see it again tonight? I don't believe so. The chart on the left from the SWPC shows a peak in activity early Wednesday morning, with a trend downward Wednesday afternoon. However there may be a little activity leftover to see a small/weak view. You can check in with the latest forecast and expectations here:
Nonetheless it will be a clear night, so check anyway! The best time to look is between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. and to look north. Happy viewing, enjoy the pictures! -Meteorologist Steve Glazier