Prediction of Aurora

The sun has a heartbeat. Every eleven years or so it beats, and it beats hard. This is known as the solar cycle and is measured by the number of sunspots visible on the sun. The more sunspots, the more energy is being released into space (which means more aurora activity!).

We are in the trough, "Deep Solar Minimum," and will soon be heading upward into what is referred to as Solar Cycle 24. "Solar Max" is predicted for around the years 2011-2013. When we begin the climb toward the peak of the cycle the sun is will become more active which should mean an increasing amount of aurora activity. But just like predicting earth weather, there are no guarantees in space weather prediction.

Aurora Borealis season in northern polar latitudes (Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Siberia) runs from August-thru-April. These are the nights with darkness in them. During the summer months of May, June and July it is just too bright to see them in the far northland. Auroras can still be spotted south of about 50° latitude during the summer. Statistically, the equinox months of September and March are best for aurora activity. The winter months of October-thru-February are also good (there is definitely no shortage of darkness!).


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