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Local Astronomers Get Rare Close-up of Space Weather

Brief Period of Clear Skies Affords Breath-taking View of Aurora Borealis

October 31, 2003       Leave a Comment
By: O. J. Cunningham

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Aurora is sooooooo cool . . .
You Gotta See This . . .

Jessica Cunningham checked her computer for up-to-date information on the evening's solar activity. "The Aurora is visible," she announced. The sky's only going to be clear for another hour or so," she added. "I'm going out to the Saginaw Bay to have a look."

That was the attitude in many locations around town on Thursday night as any number of would-be astronomers headed off into the night to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.

For a brief hour or two on Thursday, reds and greens and blue streaks cascaded across the darkened night sky to the North and East.

With the moon to the South, the sky over the Saginaw Bay was near perfect for viewing the beautiful Aurora.

Cunningham sat on the roof of her car, feetdangling thru the sun roof and called all her friends, inviting them to come out to State Park and view the Aurora. The show lasted only about 90 minutes as clouds moved in to cover the lights in the northern skies.

The ongoing geomagnetic storm, which began on Oct. 30th when a coronal mass ejection (CME) swept past Earth, is subsiding--but it's not over yet. Mid-latitude auroras have faded. Some high-latitude auroras are persisting, though. Happy Halloween!

SUNSPOT 486 is source ofall this solar activity. SUNSPOT 486 is giant sunspot. This week it unleashed two of the most powerful solar flares ever recorded and hurled massive CMEs toward Earth. Many such eruptions are possible in the days ahead.

Sunspot 486 is so big it's easy to see from Earth. But never look directly at the sun. Always use safe solar observing techniques.

Astonomers and space watchers are predicting more solar activity over the next few days. To follow predictions more closely, Click Here! And then click (in the purple on Michigan for an up to the minute Aurora prediction.

Michigan Tech has a wonderful "Aurora Page on the internet. View Michigan Tech's Page Here!

See More Aurora Pictures

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O. J. Cunningham

O. J. Cunningham is the Publisher of Cunningham previously published Sports Page & Bay City Enterprise. He is the President/CEO of OJ Advertising, Inc.

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