Possible Aurora Jan 9-10

On January 7th the sun unleashed a powerful X1.2 flare from sunspot AR1944 that was almost directly facing earth. The resulting Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is fast moving and heading for earth. Various forecast models have the impact time anywhere between 00:38 and 09:30 UT on the 9th. This has the possibility to be a big event with auroras at Mid latitudes, this means they could be easily visible from good portions of UK and Ireland. Best time to watch probably the evening of the 9th before the next weather system moves in. Get out of towns into darker skies and look north and lets hope we all get a spectacular show!!

Aurora Borealis Updates:

Spaceweather
Spaceweatherlive
NOAA Space weather Prediction

UPDATE

Well im glad i said possible in the title as this event turned out to be a major let-down. All the forecasts, the hype generated by the media and tv, it all came to nothing as the predicted CME was not only very late in arriving but it was also very weak. So no aurora was observed anywhere except the very north latitudes which is nothing out of ordinary because all it takes is a moderate solar wind to spark aurora there. The turnout at Ballintoy was unbelievable, Martin counted over 40 cars at one stage. It was great to see so many people here waiting patiently to see the sky light up, must have been hundreds spread out all over the various locations along the coastline. These people made a real effort and came from all over, some traveling hours, i just hope they didn't get put off by the no show as there will be more chances in the months ahead and the aurora now owes us!!

Martin Mckenna and i had met up earlier in the day and were hopeful of seeing aurora but deep down knew something was badly wrong, we decided to make the most of the opportunity and get some images around Ballintoy. The moonlight was lighting up the rock formations and coastline so we spent hours shooting, it really is a wonderful area.


Photographers on Ballintoy Beach





Ballintoy beach with Orion dominating the winter sky


January 7th i was off hunting the aurora from an earlier M-class flare. Met up with good friend Martin McKenna and hit the north coast. This one didn't work out because of the weather and persistent cloud to the north. A weak aurora did appear and we spotted a diffuse glow above the clouds. I still managed to get a few images around the stunning Ballintoy Harbour though so we didn't come home empty handed!