The Aurora Zone Blog

Let’s Go Round Again!

The Sun is currently in the declining stage of Solar Cycle 24 and this has prompted some speculation that Auroral displays will become less commonplace. Fortunately, this is not the case because the Aurora stems from two sources: Coronal Mass Ejections and Coronal Holes.

markku 332

During the declining stage of the Solar Cycle it is the less violent but more stable Coronal Holes that are the more likely to cause the Northern Lights to dance in our night skies and the beauty of these holes on the SUN’s surface is that they can come round time and again.

Last month (October 2016), a Coronal Hole sent solar winds racing across the vast vacuum of space and sparked geomagnetic storms in our atmosphere. The result was almost a week of Auroral displays. reports that the same Coronal Hole has transited the far side of the Sun and now it is back. It’s slightly smaller (covering a mere quarter of the Sun’s visible surface!!!) than it was almost a month ago but it is still throwing solar winds in our direction. Experts anticipate that the winds will reach our atmosphere later today (22 Nov 16) and could very well spark yet more dancing lights.

image nasa sdo

This is why we like Coronal Holes. They may not be as explosive as Coronal Mass Ejections but they are far more stable and, as this current event illustrates, it means they can generate Auroras on more than one occasion. These displays will generally be in a more localised band across northern skies so it’s more important than ever to head north if you want to see the greatest of Nature’s natural wonders. 

Discover more about why the Northern won't disappear here

 © Markku Inkila taken 10/11/16, NASA/SDO

Read 2657 times Last modified on Friday, 16 March 2018

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