Posted by BC on May 20th, 2008
The Sun has given us a few surprises lately. We have see flares, large prominences, and coronal holes. Sunspots are the precursor for major activity, and we have seen several over the past few weeks. The major solar activity creates excitement for my associate aurora watchers. We watch the indices as they rise and fall, keep track of the sunspots as they grow and shrink, and we keep track of the alerts.
Aurorae can be seen as it covers the whole Earth if the activity is strong enough, and I have seen it several times with enough energy that it has been seen at the equator. Usually aurora appears as a glow along the northern horizon and is seen only from high latitudes. Sighting an auroral display at mid or low latitudes is a great event, so keeping track of activity is essential for potential occurrences.
The above images were taken by Graham Palmer, New Zealand astronomer and photographer.
To keep track of the indices, alerts, and activity interested parties may access the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch for free information. An E-group devoted to aurora watching, reporting, and photographing is the Aurora Watch Team.