Friday, April 12, 2013

Geomagnetic Storm and Aurora Alert, 13-14 April (this weekend)

A significant solar flare (M6.5) has produced a Earth-directed Coronal Mass Ejection that is predicted to arrive on late Saturday night (13th) or early Sunday morning (14th). The Australian IPS has issued a geomagnetic storm alert and an aurora advisory.

GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FORECAST
13 Apr:  Quiet to major storm
14 Apr:  Major storm then down to unsettled

Aurora are possible for at least Tasmanian and Southern New Zealand. Southern Victoria, Southern SA and the Southern tip of WA should also be on the lookout.

In the last storm, aurora were photographed (although not visible to the unaided eye) in northern NSW. However, although this is a major CME, with favourable magnetic properties, it still could be a fizzer.


Cloud cover predictions can be found at SkippySky.

The CME will arrive after the thin crescent Moon has set, so conditions should be ideal for observing aurora, should the geomagnetic storm set them off. As usual, look to the south for unusual glows, colours and arcs of light. Dark sky sites have the best chance of seeing anything. Images of the previous storm are in the link below, for reference.
http://astroblogger.blogspot.com/2013/03/images-from-last-nights-aurora.html
(on the 13th, 14th and 15th the thin crescent moon near Jupiter will look quite nice, with the best views on the 14th)

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