More Head's Up!
By Spencer Kittelson
Date: April 17, 2002
The earth just got blasted by a CME and a few early birds in the northwest may have seen the sky suddenly light up this morning. It's unlikely to last until this evening but if you want to get an idea of what is happening in our ionosphere and exosphere, check out these links.
This is mostly consumer oriented with excellent links and items of interest. It can easily become a first stop every day to become informed on current items of celestial interest.
This has a great set of semi-realtime charts that show current space weather. The Estimated Kp chart is great for knowing if a current blast is lighting up the ionosphere. When the Kp level reaches 7 or higher it is common to see at least some auroras at higher latitudes such as the North and South Dakota. This also depends on conditions noted in the site below.
This site has a great aurora map display that shows where the aurora should be visible. It also has an interplanetary magnetic field indicator that bears watching. When the Bz field turns south the Northern Lights become much more visible. It's measured in nanoTeslas so it's pretty sensitive (how do they do that?).
Before going on a camping trip, be sure to check out these sites and get a forecast for aurora events. Enjoy!