Let’s hope we get some opportunities to see the Aurora Borealis in Southern England too!
Over the next few weeks the likelihood of seeing the aurora borealis (Northern Lights) here on Earth is on the increase as two space weather phenomena coincide.
What are these phenomena?
Firstly, the Sun goes through an 11 year solar cycle, from solar minimum, through solar maximum and back to solar minimum. We are now in the declining phase of the solar cycle following the solar max which occurred in early 2014. During the current phase of the solar cycle coronal holes that begin the cycle in the Sun’s ‘polar’ regions have now migrated towards the Sun’s equator, meaning they are on a similar line of latitude to the Earth (i.e. facing the planet rather than directed north and south out of the solar system). These coronal holes give rise to high speed solar wind streams that buffet the Earth, disturbing the Earth’s magnetic field.
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