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Thursday, March 08, 2012


Coronal Mass Ejection to hit Tonight (March 8), Possibility of Mid latitude Aurora

The coronal mass ejection (CME) blasted toward Earth by yesterday's X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 06:25 UT (+/-7 hours). For Australians, that's anywhere between 10:25 am AEDST to 00:25 am on the morning of the 9th (AEDST). Those are pretty broad limits. The IPS http://www.ips.gov.au/Space_Weather has not yet issues an aurora alert, and the Kp index is currently 1, so the storm hasn't reached us yet.

There is a good possibility of mid latitude auroras, in the past they have even reached northern New South Wales. But as always, there is equally the possibility that the event will be a squib from the Southern Hemisphere. The Full Moon's light will not help either.

Look to the South, and as always, dark sky sites away from the suburbs will have the best views, should aurora come to pass.

The CME track http://iswa.gsfc.nasa.gov/downloads/20120307_014400_anim.tim-den.gif

The flare as seen through HelioViewer http://helioviewer.org/?movieId=KPP15 hat tip to CometAl for the heads up. http://cometal-comets.blogspot.com/

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Went to bed straight after work planning to head out around midnight NZ time (UT+13) but forecast seemed to fizzle although getting conflicting reports left right and centre ... but I think we'll call it a night and see what eventuates tomorrow night as still an "Extreme" rating valid for then, according to GI.
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