February 26, 2024

Auroras Announce the Solar Cycle: More Frequent Opportunities To See the Northern and Southern Lights

The nighttime satellite image was gotten with VIIRS “day-night band,” which finds light in a variety of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and utilizes filtering methods to observe signals such as airglow, auroras, city lights, and reflected moonlight.

October 12, 2021
The 25th cycle is underway, and it brings more regular opportunities to see the southern lights and northern lights.
Solar Cycle 25 is underway, which means more frequent opportunities to see auroras– more commonly understood as the southern lights and northern lights. One of the finest opportunities over the last few years took place on October 11-12, 2021
The scene above is a mosaic of several satellite passes showing auroras over eastern North America, the North Atlantic, and Greenland. The nighttime satellite image was obtained with VIIRS “day-night band,” which spots light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and utilizes filtering techniques to observe signals such as airglow, auroras, city lights, and showed moonlight.

The night brought the very first sustained, widespread look at the northern lights for mid-latitude viewers in numerous years. Solar cycles track the activity level of the Sun, our closest star. It was most likely the first head-on CME impact of the new solar cycle. The picture was supplied by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space.

By Michael Carlowicz, NASA Earth Observatory
October 17, 2021

Astronaut photograph gotten on October 12, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera. The picture was offered by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, utilizing VIIRS day-night band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.

That exact same night, astronaut Shane Kimbrough photographed the aurora (image below) from his perch on the International Space Station. The night brought the first sustained, extensive glimpse at the northern lights for mid-latitude viewers in a number of years. Many professional photographers and aurora chasers captured pictures that night, a few of which were shared with the Aurorasaurus resident science project.
October 12, 2021.

Solar cycles track the activity level of the Sun, our closest star.
According to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, the Sun emerged with a solar flare and CME on October 9, 2021, and the storm reached Earth late on October 11. Geomagnetic storm activity reached G2 on a scale from G1 to G5. It was likely the very first head-on CME effect of the new solar cycle. NASAs Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO-A) and the Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded pictures of the flare and CME.
You can get involved in aurora person science through Aurorasaurus. The project group tracks auroras around the world via reports to its site and on Twitter, then generates a real-time global map of those reports. Resident researchers log in and verify the reports and tweets, and each validated sighting functions as an important information point for researchers to incorporate and evaluate into area weather condition designs. The Aurorasaurus team, in cooperation with person researchers and the clinical community, released the first scientific research study of Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement (STEVE), an aurora-like phenomenon that appears closer to the equator and flows from east to west. The project is a public-private collaboration with the New Mexico Consortium supported by the National Science Foundation and NASA.