NOAA’s aurora forecast for tonight. (Image credit: NOAA)
Attention Aurora chasers! Tonight, an eagerly awaited super-hot plasma eruption, also known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to make its way to Earth – and everyone is on high alert.
This rapid Earth-bound CME left the sun on Nov. 29 during a powerful M9.8-class solar flare eruption. And it’s not coming alone – it will merge with several slower upstream CMEs from a day earlier, creating a “Cannibal CME” that is predicted to trigger a strong geomagnetic storm. If predictions hold true, we can expect auroras to dance across the sky just like they did on Nov. 5.
Related: The next 4 to 5 years will be the best time to see the northern lights this solar cycle
So what are geomagnetic storms, you ask? Essentially, they are disturbances to Earth’s magnetic field caused by large expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields from the sun’s atmosphere in the form of CMEs.
(Image credit: Scott Rock Photography)
If you manage to capture photos of the aurora displays, please consider sending them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your photos could be featured in a roundup story!
If proven true, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts strong (G3) geomagnetic storm conditions with an impressive aurora forecast for the U.S. A geomagnetic storm rating starts at G1, causing an increase in auroral activity around the poles and minor fluctuations in power supplies, and it goes all the way up to G5, which can cause complete HF (high frequency) radio blackouts on the entire sunlit side of the Earth, lasting for several hours.
NOAA has upgraded their geomagnetic storm watch to G3 on Dec. 1. (Image credit: NOAA)What can we expect?
The last G3 storm on Nov. 5 created phenomenal aurora displays around the world, with northern lights reported as far south as Greece and Turkey.
On Nov. 5, astrophotographer Gareth Mon Jones caught a stunning view of the aurora above Penmon Lighthouse, Anglesey.
“A whopper of a display on Anglesey tonight,” Jones wrote on X. “my girlfriend was happy to see one of the best displays of the northern lights in a long time”
Gareth Mon Jones caught a stunning view of the aurora above Penmon Lighthouse, Anglesey. (Image credit: Gareth Mon Jones)
Steven lomas managed to photograph mysterious STEVE above Dunstanburgh Castle Northumberland, UK.
“It was the strongest display of the aurora that I have seen in 8 years of photography” lomas told Space.com. “The highlight was seeing the corona and also STEVE!”
lomas also captured quite the mythical scene with vibrant green and red auroras dancing over Dunstanburgh Castle.
(Image credit: Steven lomas)
Meteorologist Angel Enriquez was working the evening shift at the National Weather Service in Glasgow,