This will probably turn out to be an April Fools’ joke, but space weather forecasters are predicting a 25% chance of minor aurora storms overnight April 1-2 when several particle blasts from the sun are expected to pound on Earth’s magnetic door.
That’s the forecast for skywatchers in mid-latitudes; polar folks will see a 60% chance of a major, sky-filling aurora. Be sure to check the skies starting tomorrow evening. The crescent moon sets early and won’t interfere with even the faintest auroras.
Speaking of the moon, you can watch a one-day-old crescent put on a smile starting about a half hour after sunset tonight March 31. Find a place with a wide-open view to the west northwest and look a short distance above the horizon a most delicate crust of moon.
During northern hemisphere spring, the moon’s path across the sky makes a steep angle to the western horizon at dusk. That’s why it’s tipped over on its back and resembles a smile. In early fall, the crescent moon’s path intersects the evening horizon at a very shallow angle, tipping the moon upright on its southern cusp.
Later this week, a thicker crescent moon will cross the Hyades star cluster, temporarily blocking up to three of its bright stars. Stay tuned – I’ll post a guide on how to watch it tomorrow.