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Aurora and meteor shower May 23/24, 2014

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The direction of the IMF is currently southward near -7nT, a conditions known to increase the geomagnetic activity here on Earth. This combined with the elevated solar wind speed which lies close to 500km/s is this a great recipe for increased auroral activity. Magnetometers are already reading Kp-values up to 4.


Sky watchers from northern Scotland/and locations around the latitudes of Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki should be alert for aurorae if their skies are still dark enough this time of the year. It might be hard to watch aurora now from those latitude as we are approaching the Northern Hemisphere summer solstice.

If these values hold, we also recommend sky watchers near the US-Canadian border to be alert for aurorae when skies are dark.

This aurora show might become very special for North-American sky watchers as Earth will pass through a stream of debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR as well this night. There is a chance that there will be aurora in the skies combined with a spectacular meteor shower. North-American sky watchers are lucky as the peek of this meteor shower is expected around or during the hours after local midnight. It is thus well worth going out tonight as you might get two shows for the price of one! For more information regarding the meteor you can visit: http://earthsky.org/space/comet-209p-linear-meteor-shower-storm-may-2014

Image: OVATION model

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The meteor shower that was expected this past night seemed to have ended up as a disappointment so far. Some experts claimed that as many as 200 meteors an hour could be seen with a bit of luck while others warned that that estimate was far too high. It seems they were right. Most reports estimate that there was only about 1 meteor to be seen during every 10 to 15 minutes.

Aurora displays also retreated to higher latitudes during the US night as IMF values crashed. Nonetheless, a period of G1 geomagnetic storming was observed during the European evening. I have not heard of any aurora sightings from Europe however. It seems that Scotland was buried under a ton of clouds yesterday and it is perhaps too light during the nights already on attitudes like Stockholm and Oslo.

If we look at our star we see that she is becoming a bit more active. The background X-ray flux still lies in the B-range but there is activity brewing with occasional C-flares. Sunspot region 2065 (Beta-Gamma/see image) seems to be the source of this activity. It slowly developed into a Beta-Gamma region. We do not expect M-class flares just yet but more C-class flares are to be expected.

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