Solar Storm Hits Earth – Aurora Seen In Australia


Girvan, NSW, facing towards Newcastle. Copyright: Andrea Evans

A severe solar storm has slammed earth, increasing the chances of fluctuations in the power grid and GPS. IT also pushes shimmering polar auroras to places where more people can possibly see them.

June 23, 2015 (Australia) This image was taken by Andrea Evans who spotted and photographed the Aurora from Girvan, New South Wales to Lake Cairn, Victoria.  Check out these photos of the glowing southern lights captured overnight!

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said a potent blast of magnetic plasma shot out of the sun on Sunday, travelling faster than usual, hitting earth on Monday afternoon with the biggest solar storm since March, maybe since September 2005.

 Extremely bright Aurora Australis from Kiama NSW

The storm could last a day or longer. I have fielded several reports this morning and done radio interviews with people seeing the Aurora Australis from places as high up as Bega, Wollongong and Eden on the south coast NSW.Australia. VERY unusual!!!!!!

 Aurora Australis: Coming Soon To A Night Sky Near You

Aurora australis captured from Cradle Mountain, Tasmania on 8 May 2014. Copyright: Mark Walsh

It usually takes a dark night, clear skies, and a phenomenal amount of luck, but thousands of people across southern Australia could soon be in store for Mother Nature’s most heavenly light show.

That’s the message from the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Space Forecast Centre, which believes the time is ripe for an increased incidence of aurora australis – the dramatic displays of dancing red and green lights most frequently seen in Tasmania and parts of the Victorian coast.

With the Earth emerging from its solar maximum, the peak of its 11-year solar weather cycle, it is likely to see increases in the geomagnetic activity and solar winds that form auroras—known as ‘australis’ in the southern hemisphere, and ‘borealis’ in the northern.

‘We’re now emerging from a period of solar maximum that began in 2011, and historical data show that some of the best auroras have occurred in the declining phase of the solar maximum, which is more conducive to faster solar wind and intense geomagnetic activity,’ says Dr Murray Parkinson, a Duty Forecaster at the Australian Space Forecast Centre. ‘This suggests that the next two or three years should provide some of the best aurora viewing that we’ve had in Australia for many years.’

Advance warnings

The Bureau also provides a free aurora alert service, which sends out an email (or paid SMS messages) to subscribers to help them identify locations and times that are expected to be conducive to auroras. These notifications include both ‘Aurora Watch’ forecasts, in which the Duty Forecaster predicts that conditions are favourable for viewing aurora over the next one to three nights, and ‘Aurora Alerts’ warning that auroras should be visible now in the right locations.

The Duty Forecaster regularly includes comments about the possibility of observing auroras in the daily round-up of Today’s Space Weather, while the Bureau also maintains an archive of aurora information, photos and sightings on its website.  Source: Bureau Meteorology

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