Northern Lights a No-Show for Oregon, Coast, Despite Large CME
(Portland, Oregon) – Thursday night could be seeing some excellent northern light action in Oregon and on the coast – if the weather permits.
OMSI planetarium manager Jim Todd said a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) fired off from the sun a few days ago and it's created conditions possibly favorable to seeing the aurora borealis in the wee hours of Friday morning.
“The good news, the moon is near new phase (March 1) which allows for darker night sky to view the faint auroras,” Todd said. “Bad news, the current local weather forecast for this evening is not looking promising for the viewing. “
Todd said of the KP levels reach 6 or higher overnight there could be some magnificent viewing around Oregon.
Todd doled out some advise for spotting the light show.
“If the sky is clear in your area, best to move away from the city lights to improve visibility of the auroras,” Todd said. “Look low north and watch for any fluctuation of some faint green and red haze like which could last for few seconds to several minutes. If you have a DSLR camera with low F-stop and medium ISO settings, try a few seconds exposures to verify the auroras."
Pacific City photographer Cody Cha manages to get aurora shots fairly often, but he said they are not usually visible with the naked eye in this area. You need to have a camera set up to capture them.
Todd said the northern lights are going quite often towards the north pole but rarely visible in this area.
Friday night looks a tad more promising as there are some cloud breaks happening then. But science sources seem to indicate little if any CME activity still heading past Earth by then.
The source of the eruption is a well-known sunspot called AR1967, now beginning its third trip across the Earthside of the sun. This area is quite active in solar flare production.
More Oregon coast at night below, including some northern lights, and more Oregon coast science here.
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