It may not be a full blown “Aurora Alert” from the weather lab, but sky watchers may still see a rare treat Friday night.
The sun unleashed a weaker Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) Wednesday. Though the brunt of the blast was not aimed directly at earth, the glancing blow may arrive overnight or Friday night and be enough trigger some northern lights.
NASA’s SOHO observatory captures Wednesday’s CME moving outward from the sun. The streaming bands are solar energy bursts that can cause northern lights as they interact with earth’s atmosphere.
A so called “magnetic filament” (movie) in the vicinity of sunspot complex 1342-1343 triggered the CME.
Sky watchers in clear areas should keep an eye out for possible northern lights Thursday & Friday nights. Spaceweather.com put the chance at around 20% but it may be worth a look.
Full Moon & Jupiter still close!
Looking east after sunset and higher in the sky later on, you’ll see the bright full moon with Jupiter glowing brightly to the right.
Red & Blue Too!
If you’re an early riser look to the east and you may see the red planet Mars and the blue star Regulus in the pre-dawn eastern sky.
The pair can be seen with the naked eye or binoculars.
Image Credit: Brendan Alexander
Nov. 10, 2011
Killygordon, Co. Donegal, Ireland
“A Colourful Pair Perhaps the highlight of the month for casual observers will be provided by the red planet. Mars is putting on a pre-dawn show along with Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo the Lion. The pair rise in the east and will be at their highest in the south before Sunrise. Regulus is a distinctive blue-white colour, while the planet Mars sports a striking red hue. This coming together gives stargazers an opportunity to compare and contrast the stunning colours these two heavenly bodies display. The colour difference was obvious to the naked eye and binoculars will further enhance my views of the pair. Mars approached Regulus from the west at the start of the month and makes its closest approach to the tomorrow morning (11November). However, in case cloud interfered, I grab the shot this morning as the pair look equally stunning from the 8th to the 14th of November.”