Aurora Visible in Hamilton

On the evening of March 23/24, an aurora was visible from the Hamilton area.

Aurora are caused by the solar wind interacting with the Earth’s magnetosphere, a region created by the Earth’s molten iron core that protects us from the effects of solar and cosmic radiation. When charged particles hit the magnetosphere, they can travel down the magnetic field lines and into the Earth’s atmosphere. This is most visible when there are Coronal Mass Ejections.

Auroras are normally seen in more Northerly latitudes, however, they can appear further south during stronger geomagnetic storms, or around the time of the Spring and Fall Equinoxes. This aurora display was caused by a storm that reached a peak of G4 (Severe) and was visible as far south as Colorado and New Mexico.

There are several websites that provide you with forecasts for aurora displays listed below. If you see a G3 or higher storm or a Kp level of 6 or greater, you will have a chance of seeing aurora. It is best to find darker skies away from the city on clear, moonless nights. Look toward the North and look for wispy clouds. Quite often aurora can appear grey – use a camera (even the one on your phone!) and see if you can spot any clouds that have colour.

Suggested websites

Space Weather

Geophysical Institute

Soft Serve News – Aurora Forecast

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