Of Particular Significance

Likelihood of Auroras Tonight (March 24-25)

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

ON 03/24/2024

[Note Added: 9:30pm Eastern] Unfortunately this storm has consisted of a very bright spike of high activity and a very quick turnoff. It might restart, but it might not. Data below shows recorded activity in three-hour intervals — and the red or very high orange is where you’d want things to be for mid-latitude auroras.

The current solar storm has so far only had a high but brief spike, and might be over already.

Quick note: a powerful double solar flare from two groups of sunspots occurred on Friday. This in turn produced a significant blast of subatomic particles and magnetic field, called a Coronal Mass Ejection [CME], which headed in the direction of Earth. This CME arrived at Earth earlier than expected — a few hours ago — which also means it was probably stronger than expected, too. For those currently in darkness and close enough to the poles, it is probably generating strong auroras, also known as the Northern and Southern Lights.

No one knows how long this storm will continue, but check your skies tonight if you are in Europe especially, and possibly North America as well. The higher your latitude and the earlier your nightfall compared to now, the better your chances.

The ACE satellite, located between the Earth and Sun at a distance from Earth approximately 1% of the Sun-Earth distance, recorded the arrival of the CME a few hours ago as a jump in a number of its readings.

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2 Responses

    1. As far as I know, it’s essentially symmetric north to south (especially since we are close to the equinox, when neither pole points away from the Sun) and so largely depends on your latitude, whether north or south. If that’s not true, someone should let me know. I guess that would mean South Africa and southern Chile and Argentina (night is mostly over in Australia.)

      But right now the signs are not so good; the storm has temporarily subsided. Still, the CME was strong enough that things might be turbulent over the coming hours.

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