Earth hit by solar storm0March 31st, 2001Uncategorized
So reads the headline of an article on the Science and Technology section of the BBC News. This refers to the large sunspot cluster which has developed on the sun from which a flare erupted on Thursday. The result of this flare is that the Northern Lights will be seen by far more people and places than is normal. There will also be other effects, such as telecommunications disruptions as the particles from the sun can cause interference.
I have always wanted to see the Northern Lights, but as yet have failed to be in the right place at the right time. Most of Britain suffers from light pollution so the chances of seeing anything in London are zero. The Astronomy photo of the day May 16, 1999 shows what Europe looks like at night from satellites orbiting the earth, this kind of explains why we can see so few stars. There are some good galleries of aurora photos available on the web. Here are links to just a few of them:
- Aurora Gallery (March 19-24 2001)
- Tom Eklund’s Aurora Gallery
- Photo taken by Leroy Zimmerman, March 2001 in Alaska
- And finally, one for the photographers out there – Shooting the Aurora Borealis
So, what causes Aurora? Well, Auroras, Paintings in the sky seems to be a really well written set of common questions and answers, i.e. What makes them happen?, written in an easy-to-read style,
with pictures to illustrate the points.
And finally, the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute have maps for predicting where Auroras will be on a particluar day.