Aurora Watch Sunday And Monday Nights Aug. 4-5

Watch for possible northern lights starting Sunday night, Aug. 4 from about 10:30 p.m. until midnight. Northern states are favored. Bob King

OK, it’s only a minor storm, but any storm is good news. We’ve been lacking in the green glowy stuff this year as solar activity tumbles toward a minimum. Our main aurora-makers now are coronal holes which are openings in the sun’s corona that allow solar particles to stream unfettered into space. You can’t see these holes with a typical telescope, but they show prominently in photos taken in far ultraviolet light like those taken by NASA’s orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The coronal hole that may deliver delights to northern skies photographed Aug. 2, 2019 by the SDO. NASA

The minor G1 storm is expected to begin late Sunday afternoon, August 4 (U.S. time) and continue through about 1 a.m. Monday. There’s also a fair chance minor storming will return Monday night, Aug. 5. The moon is only a crescent, so this is a good time to look. Keep watch on the northern sky for low, greenish arcs. The best time to look will be from about 10:30 until past midnight. I’ll update with photos if it happens as predicted. Clear skies!