Saturn Conjunction Tonight, G2 Aurora Storm Forecast Weds. Night

Watch for Saturn and the waxing moon to meet in a sky near you at dusk tonight (Sept. 26). Face south-southwest an hour after sunset for a great view. Stellarium

I hope you’ll have clear skies tonight to see a nice conjunction of Saturn and the almost-half moon in the southwestern sky at dusk. They’ll be fairly close, about 2½° apart, and worth a look. If you haven’t seen Saturn through a telescope lately, tonight’s pairing will serve as a reminder to look at the ringed planet yet another time before it departs the evening sky. Sure as sugar, it’s been drifting westward with the seasons and already getting too low for a good look after 9 p.m. local time.

A large, boot-shaped coronal hole, seen here on Sept. 25, is forecast to fire up the aurora on Wednesday evening (Sept. 27). Watch the northern sky that evening for any activity including arcs or moving curtains. Click here to watch a video of the hole and a large magnetic pulsation. Credit: NASA/SDO

Then get ready for a good shot at seeing the northern lights Wednesday night the 27th. High speed solar winds from a large coronal hole are joining forces with a CIR or corotating interaction region to set us up for a minor G1 geomagnetic storm starting tomorrow afternoon. It’s expected to amp up to a G2 or moderate storm by nightfall across the northern half of the U.S. and Canada.

What’s a CIR? When a high-speed solar wind, say from a coronal hole, interacts with an earlier, slow-moving stream, it enhances the strength of the magnetic field embedded in the material, making a CIR. When the bundle arrives at Earth, our magnetic defenses can get pounded almost as much as when the sun erupts with a CME or coronal mass ejection. Since coronal holes are common even around solar minimum, we’re never really out of the woods when it comes to the sun’s magnetic muster.

2 Responses

  1. Mara

    Hi Bob, I’d love to see the northern light tomorrow night–where do you suggest going to get the best view? Thanks!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Mara,
      I’ll be keeping close tabs on it since it’s supposed to be at least partly cloudy. I’d suggest Brighton Beach first or up Jean Duluth Road and then turn off on a dirt road with a view to the north. The Island Lake area and Boulder Lake are also nice places, especially Boulder.

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