Clear your diary for these dates in June, experts say

A few nights on either side of Jupiter, June 6 is a great time for another display of the Northern Lights in low latitudes like Europe and North America, which tie in nicely with June’s new moon.

Solar activity has slowed since May 10’s intense G5 geomagnetic storm, which caused aurora displays around the world. This is because the part of the Sun that causes extreme space weather has moved.

Return to AR3664

The coronal mass ejections (bursts of charged particles) that cause solar flares and auroras come from sunspots — dark patches on the Sun’s surface that display intense magnetic activity — but they usually only materialize near the Sun’s center. Launching into space depends on the Earth.

As the Sun rotates every 27 days, the sunspot that caused the May 10 event – AR3664 – has been on the opposite side of the Sun for a few weeks. However, it returned to the Sun’s southeastern limb in late May, declaring itself a force X-class solar flare on Monday, May 27. A Like NASA Note that the resulting CME will miss Earth.

27 days later

Nothing is certain—it’s not in space weather forecasting—but if AR3664 is active, we could see the aurora about 27 days after the May 10 event. Exactly 27 days later on June 6th, the new moon of June.

This is important because the aurora—especially the faintest aurora—is easily visible only in dark skies. A less reported reason for the apparent brightness of the May 10 aurora is the darkness of the night sky (May’s new moon was on May 8).

How to Prepare for Aurora

The best advice is to pack a camera bag and have a dark spot nearby in mind, but don’t rush. Wait for expert advice. „Don’t make those decisions until we have eyes on the sunspot, because it won’t be until the sunspot reappears and we can measure what it’s doing and call whether it’s similarly complex or more complex than last time,” he said. Dr. Ryan Frenchis a solar physicist and teacher at the National Solar Laboratory (NSO) in Boulder, Colorado The Sun: A Beginner’s Guide to Our Local Star. „That would be seven or eight days before a CME.”

ForbesAurora warning: Why you should pack a bag now for sudden solar storms

Reasons to be cautious

Since May 10, AR3664 has produced fewer solar flares, but the ones it has produced are much stronger. So the early signs are reasonable, but when it comes to solar physics, the past is not a reliable indicator of the future. By the time AR3664 makes its way to Earth it will not be active anywhere. That’s what happened last time, in September 2017, when the sunspot was in this action.

„AR2673 was very similar — it was very complex, had X11 and X13 solar flares on September 6 and 10, and then disappeared behind the Sun,” French said. „Everybody was hopeful, but by the time it came back, nothing had happened. Sunspots might be complex for a couple of cycles, but then they might decay.

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Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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