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Astro Bob

Labor Day Weekend Auroras / Volcanoes Turn Sunsets Purple

29 Aug 2019, 13:44 UTC
Labor Day Weekend Auroras / Volcanoes Turn Sunsets Purple
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An aurora during a previous G2 storm that made for a nice show in northern Minnesota. Bob King
With the moon only the thinnest of crescents at dusk this weekend, the stage is set for a possible auroral display. Space weather forecasters predict a minor (G1) storm for Saturday night, Aug. 31 that will likely continue through Sunday morning the 1st and possibly spill over into Sunday night. Canada, northern Europe and the northern half of the U.S. are favored. The storm could reach G2 or moderate levels.
The keyhole-shaped coronal hole partially responsible for this week’s happy forecast. Photo taken by NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory late on Aug. 28. NASA
G2 storms usually feature both arcs and active rays that expand and swirl in the lower half of the northern sky. Watch the forecast and if it’s clear, keep an eye out both nights for activity. The sun hasn’t sported a sunspot for 21 days and although we’re approaching the minimum of its 11-year cycle, the time when it’s least active, our star never stops blowing a steady stream of subatomic particles into space called the solar wind.
It’s these particles that are headed toward Earth right now. ...

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