Essentially, there are two sources of the solar winds which cause the Aurora to appear in our skies; Coronal Mass Ejections and Coronal Holes. Coronal Mass Ejections are explosive solar events but, they are one off events. Coronal Holes are less violent but, importantly, they are much more stable and can rotate around the sun several times. This is means that they often reappear 27 days after their last appearance and help cause more Auroral displays down the line.
We are particularly excited today as Coronal Hole (CH34) - that we mentioned in our previous blog - still appears to be stable. The image below is taken from STEREO Ahead, a NASA spaceship which takes images of the far side of the Sun. The diagram below shows its position (marked A) in relation to Earth and the Sun, whilst the image next to it shows the left-hand side of the sun as we look towards it.
If you look at the far left of the sun, you will notice that there’s a big dark patch emerging. That is our old friend CH34 looking fully intact and ready to face the Earth in about 13 days (28th November). Assuming it remains stable and earth-facing then it will deliver another high-speed stream of Solar Wind to our atmosphere on or around 01/02 December, bringing with it increased geomagnetic activity.
In simple terms this means that CH34 could well bring increased Auroral activity to the Arctic Circle on or around 01/02 December, which is great news for any Aurora hunters who have got a trip planned at the start of next month.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that there wont be the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights on other days. Nor does it mean that you are guaranteed a light show on the 01 December, Mother Nature is an unpredictable force after all! However, CH34 has already delivered several times so it really is worth keeping those dates in mind!
What’s more we have got some incredible savings currently running on our trips to Wilderness Hotel Inari and Wilderness Hotel Nellim in Finnish Lapland, with up to £400 off per person when you book on the 02 December departures! So, there are lots of reasons to be excited about the start of December!
Images: STEREO/NASA, Matt Robinson