Northern Lights in Vancouver?

I love astronomy, and have being since I was a little kid big enough to look down the eye piece of a telescope. So whenever I hear snippets of news about astrological events taking place, or about to take place, I usually jump on board and try and follow them. Today, I was haphazardly surfing the channels on TV when a news story broke out stating that there were reportedly three mass ejection from the Sun at the beginning of the week. Wow, I thought, Power grid failures, Northern Lights, how cool is that!

So I started surfing the net to find more information about the Solar event taking place. In the usual two to there seconds it takes to Google “Solar Flares” I got my answer. It appears that the Sun made up to three coronal mass ejections around Monday and Tues, which means that they should be heading this way, reaching us, by today and tomorrow.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC9GCkAFw-Q&[/youtube]

For those who are not into astronomy, I think some things need to be cleared up and explained before you all get excited and start building bomb-shelters and buying up a years supply of food and water. The Earth will not be destroyed from this event. We get them all the time. But Solar Flares effect us in two ways.

First, they give us Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. However, becuase of the mass ejections, and their effect on the Earth’s Magnetosphere, people a lot further South will see them too. And the Lights should be entertaining with all the extra energy out from the ejections. So, if the clouds are not too overcast in your area, you should be in for a real treat.

Second, becuase these are charged partials hitting the Earth with lots of energy and speed, they play havoc with our technology, mainly our power grids and communications networks. Radio and power disruptions have happened before, so be prepared for that, but it will be temporary.

It takes light roughly Eight minutes and Thirty seconds to reach earth given off by the Sun. Since these particles are made of energy and matter, they travel a lot slower than light. It usually takes about three days for these particles to reach Earth.

So starting tonight, look up at the sky, if you can, and hopefully you will be entertained by the Northern Light reaching this far South. However, Vancouver, BC is notorious for its clouds, so do not hold your breath as the weather forecast does not look good.

Source:

Solar Flare 2011: Northern Lights So Hot They’re Cool

Sun Unleashes Biggest Flare of the Current Cycle

Keep tabs on the Sun, Up to the minute Data: http://sdo.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/

2 Thoughts on “Northern Lights in Vancouver?

  1. You know, to my mind the Northern Lights is something that every Canadian should experience.

    I was up in Nelson House, MB during the summer of 2000. I was taking a stroll early one morning when it was still pitch black… or it would have been.

    Up in the sky where the Northern Lights and not just a wimpy section of them like you might see at this latitude. I could see the ENTIRE ring of them circling the North Pole. They were green and vivid, putting out enough light to illuminate the ground clearly.

    Probably the most AWESOME sight I have ever witnessed in my life. I’ll never forget it!

  2. Maybe tonight we’ll see some light action up in the skies of Vancouver!

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