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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Aurora Alert!


Viewers and amateur astronomers in the northern US may be treated to a special event tonight and tomorrow night. The sun recently emitted a solar flare in the Earth's direction.

While this has been quite rare lately, this one is poised to put on quite a light show in the Earth's upper atmosphere. When the charged particles from this solar flare reach the Earth, their energy is turned into light by the Earth's upper atmosphere. We know these as the aurora borealis.

So tonight (August 3rd) and tomorrow (August 4th), look high in the sky at dusk and into the night to see a possible aurora display in your town! Current estimates are a 45% chance of activity with a 10% chance of significant geomagnetic activity. Pretty good odds considering!

Clear skies!

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