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Geomagnetic Storm Alert
12.28.10
 
Northern lights (aurora borealis) in Ruka, Finland on Dec. 28 can easily be seen, even with all the street lights and garden lights. › View larger
Northern lights (aurora borealis) in Ruka, Finland on Dec. 28, easily seen even with all the street lights and garden lights. Credit: Timo Newton-Syms

This solar image was taken by STEREO Behind in EUVI 195 on Dec. 28, 2010. The coronal holes emitting the fast solar wind are indicated. › View larger
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Jan. 2, 2011--the first solar wind stream of the New Year. Credit: NASA/STEREO
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High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. During the early hours of Dec. 28th, the sun's magnetic field near Earth tipped south, opening a crack in Earth's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured and sparked a G1-class (Kp=5) geomagnetic storm. Observers are reporting ground currents and intensifying Northern Lights in Scandinavia.


More auroras are in the offing. A solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole is due to hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 2nd. The impact could produce the first geomagnetic storm of the New Year. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.

 
 
Dr. Tony Phillips / Holly Zell
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center