Look to the skies!

and hope for a clear night.. yeah, I know. But assuming that happens we may be in for a spectacular Northern Lights display (the Aurora Borealis for those of a more scientific inclination). The Irish Times carries this recommendation from the Chairman of the Royal Irish Academy’s Astronomy committee – “Go and have a look”That’s Mr Terry Moseley, chairman of the Royal Irish Academy’s Astronomy committee and press officer of the Irish Astronomical Association.

“There is no guarantee, but there is a good chance and the best you will have for the next few years,” he said of the opportunity to see the lights, known as the Aurora Borealis. “Make the best use of this chance.”

Although we’re past the peak of the 11-year cycle of solar activity, current observations indicate that conditions are favourable for a display visible from Ireland throughout this week.

According to Mr David Moore, editor of Astronomy Ireland magazine.

“We have been told things will remain so for most of the week. Get out tonight from dusk ’til dawn, because there is a very good chance there will be an aurora”.

The Astronomy Ireland website has further details – and an email alert facility for those who wish to sign up. There’s also the Space Weather website to monitor further developments – the red area of the Auroral Map indicates the strength of the aurora (Ireland is close to the 3 o’clock position).

If nothing else it could take our minds off more earthly concerns for a few days.