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If you live in Teh Northland, watch for Northern Lights tonight. Scientists are forecasting a lovely light-storm because of a huge coronal mass ejection blasted out of the sun from the sole sunspot on Halloween (how's that for scary?). Basically, we see a coronal mass ejection when the Sun belches billions of tons of plasma into space, sort of like a world-killing gas attack. But don't worry - unless you live in low-Solar-orbit, you're safe. When the huge cloud smashes into Earth's magnetic field, we'll be able to enjoy the pretty colors. Here's a cool movie from SOHO (the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory):


Click the image to see the story.

Unfortunately for sky-watchers (and fortunately for communications satellites), we'll only suffer a glancing blow, so this will be a mild show.

Happy news for Sun-watchers: Another two sunspots are working their way to the surface of the Sun as we move out of the current sunspot minimum. Can't wait to start using my solar filter for some cool photography!

Chris

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
jjschwabach
Nov. 5th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC)
How North, and how late?
mckitterick
Nov. 5th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
There's no projected time - could be early, could be late! How far north depends on how big a storm it is: The bigger, the farther south we can see it.
jjschwabach
Nov. 6th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
Well, it was overcast here last night. And most nights, lately, so no love.

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )