AURORA WATCH: AURORAS MAY STILL BE POSSIBLE JANUARY 18 THRU 20
Tuesday, January 18 2005 @ 12:00 am EST
Contributed by: bobmoody
A - STRONG - Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) has been detected and reportedly headed towards Earth. Power companies and airlines have been warned again of strong auroral and solar storm activity from January 16 through January 20.
UPDATE: SECOND CME POSSIBLY STRONGER
UPDATE 2: THEY KEEP COMING!! A *3rd* and possibly the strongest yet CME has been observed bringing even more solar particles towards Earth. There have also been 3 extremely powerful solar flares associated with each of these CME's. The sunspot region below (Region 10720) is also capable of producing even more events until it passes beyond the western solar limb in 4-5 days.The SOHO link below will show the current position of region 10720, and auroras are still possible through early morning hours of January 20.
Watch for auroras in the northern parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma from tonight through the morning of Thursday January 20th. The chances are still HIGH that an aurora WILL be visible any of these dates. TWO CME's have been detected and now a 3rd with even more significant amounts of solar particles still headed towards Earth. There are NO dangerous effects from these CME's, but they are responsible for the occasional auroras we see in mid-latitude regions of the world as well as electrical grid disruptions.
Anyone may attempt to capture this auroral activity with any camera which can be set to "manual" and which will accept a cable release. Use 400 speed film or faster...camera on a tripod w/cable release...expose for 15 seconds up to 1-2 minutes with shorter times for brighter portions of an aurora (15-45 sec)...watch for yellow or orange bands extending upwards which MAY show some "curtain" effect I.E. waving as if in a breeze.
See "A Solar Connection to the Aurora of November 7, 2004"
Watch for any "skyglow" on the northern horizon as if there were a LARGE city just beyond your view. This will appear as a greenish-white band near the northern horizon. Watch for any reddish-orangish or yellowish "glow" blending with the upper fringes of this greenish horizonal "glow". DRESS WARMLY to be able to watch as long as possible.
Auroral activity comes in "waves", meaning that the activity can change dramatically over a very short period of time. What might not be more than a greenish glow at the northern horizon can suddenly flare up to reveal huge areas of reddish to orangish color, and may on rare occasions turn bright green or blue. The activity is expected to be fairly high during this event through Thursday Jan 20, with the best activity Tuesday, Wednesday and/or Thursday nights.
This event is expected to reach as far south as the mid-US, but there is at least a 50-50 chance of an aurora.
Clarification: Moonlight this evening MAY hinder the intensity of any visible auroral activity. Likewise, observers from within city limits may also see little if any auroral activity. If viewing from within city limits, try and find a shadowed area away from most street lights. Better views will be had after moonset around 2:30am Tuesday and around 4:45 am Thursday.
For more on the Solar activity that spawned this activity, go to:http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/
For information on auroral activity and solar flares, go to:http://www.spacew.com/
Solar image from Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) MIDI Continuum image from January 16.
Aurora image by AOAS astrophotographer Mike Holloway of the Aurora of Nov 7, 2004 from north of Van Buren.