Look to the north!

The BBC points to the possibility, given clear skies, of further displays of the Aurora Borealis being visible from Northern Ireland following a series of large solar flares – including a level X2.2 flare on the 15th, the most powerful since 2006.  But, as the Professor and a separate BBC report notes, there are some practical concerns.

The China Meteorological Administration reported that the solar flare caused “sudden ionospheric disturbances” in the atmosphere above China and jammed short-wave radio communications in the southern part of the country.

The CMA warned there was a high probability that large solar flares would appear over the next three days, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Here’s SDO’s Pick of the Week video of that X2.2 flare seen in extreme ultraviolet – complete with faint edge of a “halo” coronal mass ejection as it races away from the Sun. The video covers about 11 hours.

And Little SDOHMI helpfully provides a video of observations of the X2.2 flare on the 15th from two of the three instruments onboard the Solar Dynamics Observatory.  Video Credit: NASA SDO / Lockheed Martin / Stanford University

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  • qwerty12345

    Missed the show the other night sadly. Last time seeing Aurora here, for me was November 2003. Magical thing when its good.

    Heres a handy visual aurora prediction map

  • joeCanuck

    qwerty12345 ,

    Great chart. I’ll be using it; we get quite a few aurorae here.

  • pippakin


    The first, and last time I saw the aurora was in Canada some years ago. Strange, unearthly and wonderful. I think I’m too far away but if its a clear night I will be hopeful.

  • Greenflag

    A cosmic appeal to the All Sol to moderate his/her solar flares to a size and order that does not erase those of us still clinging to this rocky piece of matter a mere 95 million miles from the Great Sol .

    Our Sol, who art the centre of all life.
    Hallowed be thy solar flares but only in moderation .
    Thy Auroras come,
    And thy Borealises go
    And are seen in the far north by JC among others .
    Give us this day our daily rays
    And forgive us our disappearing ozone layer
    As we forgive those large asteroids who miss us except once every hundred million years .
    And lead them close to the Great Jovian gravitational force.
    That they may be scattered past Plutonian ice moons
    And deliver us from global warming or the next ice age .
    For thine is the Galactic kingdom of the spiral arm,
    The quantum and the quanta of Milky Wayness
    For ever and ever – well perhaps ?

  • qwerty12345

    Lancaster Uni runs an Aurora early warning system, if anyone is interested you can subscribe here:


    I’ve seen Aurora maybe half a dozen times in Ireland, with the present solar cycle really getting going there should be further opportunities over the coming couple of years.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I’ve seen the Northern Lights quite a few times from Portstewart in my youth.

  • lamhdearg

    Too many acid.

  • carl marks

    im spend a lot of time on mountains(im part of a mountain rescue team) a few years ago a friend of mine who is a scientist talked me into helping him haul a 12 inch telescope mount and battery up the bluestacks in donegall it was a cold clear spring night. no sooner had we got to the top when the northern lights appeared i was spellbound he complained about light pilloution all night, go figure some people.
    i bought my own telescope the next week and am now a fully paid up geek and proud of it