This May Be Your Last Chance to See the Northern Lights During Peak Cycle
The Northern Lights are a sight to see this week and this may be your last chance to see it until the next peak in the solar cycle about 11 years from now.
In North America, the Northern Lights—or Aurora Borealis—are typically more common in the northwestern parts of Canada and Alaska, but forecasters say this time people as far south as the northern Michigan will be able to take in the beauty of the phenomena this week. Unfortunately, for those in southern Michigan, thunderstorms in the forecast will keep people there from seeing it.
A G2 (Moderate) Geomagnetic Storm Watch has been issued for Sept. 28-30 due to effects from the anticipated arrival of a recurrent coronal hole high speed stream.NOAA
People have been fascinated with the Northern Lights for thousands of years. In medieval times, the occurrences of auroral displays were seen as a sign of war or famine. Medieval Europeans considered them a sign from God, and Aboriginal people commonly saw aurora as "fires in the cosmos" or "fires created by sky spirits." Now, thanks to the modern astronomy, we now know what causes both the Aurora Borealis and its southern sibling, Aurora Australis.
The "standard" aurora is created by the solar wind—the particles streaming constantly from the sun—interacting with the Earth's magnetic field producing a pale, yellowish-green light that we perceive as wavy and dancing. When solar storms are stronger they can ramp up the Northern Lights considerably making them visible over much wider areas, space.com said. Last year, for example, a strong solar storm allowed people as far south as Illinois and Ohio to catch a glimpse of the lights.
10 Stunning Photos of Rare #NorthernLights (And How to Take Your Own) https://t.co/tqasm8tf0r @sierraclub @NWF @WWF https://t.co/yW4yhVpnzG— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1446581184.0
While this phenomena occurs year-round, you can see them almost nightly during the winter and spring months in places that are closer to the northern and southern poles where the Earth's magnetic field is weaker. This time of year is also ideal because it is generally less cloudy.
"Active periods are typically about 30 minutes long, and occur every two hours, if the activity is high," Charles Deehr wrote in the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Geophysical Institute's guide to aurora viewing.
Researchers also found that auroral activity is cyclic and peaks about every 11 years, which means more auroras will be visible south of the main auroral occurrence zone. The last peak of solar activity—or Solar Maximum—was in June 2014, and is very active for about two years prior to and after the maximum. The ideal time to see the lights is around 9.30 p.m. to 1 a.m., according to The Aurora Zone, but can be visible as early as 4 p.m. and as late as 6 a.m.
If you want a more exact time to catch the Northern Lights, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency provides 30-minute forecasts on auroras through their Space Weather Prediction Center. There is also an Android App, Aurora Alert, where you can get regular updates on when and where an aurora will be visible in your area.
People across New England witnessed a dramatic celestial event Sunday night.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Reichmuth
Over the last month, I've seen a number of opinion articles attacking electric vehicles (EVs). Sadly, this comes as no surprise: now that the Biden administration is introducing federal policies to accelerate the roll out of electric vehicles, we were bound to see a reaction from those that oppose reducing climate changing emissions and petroleum use.
The majority of EVs sold in 2020 were models with a starting price (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price) under $40,000 and only a fifth of models had a starting price over $60,000.
On Friday, China set out an economic blueprint for the next five years, which was expected to substantiate the goal set out last fall by President Xi Jinping for the country to reach net-zero emissions before 2060 and hit peak emissions by 2030.
The Great Trail in Canada is recognized as the world's longest recreational trail for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. Created by the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) and various partners, The Great Trail consists of a series of smaller, interconnected routes that stretch from St. John's to Vancouver and even into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. It took nearly 25 years to connect the 27,000 kilometers of greenway in ways that were safe and accessible to hikers. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and AccessNow, the TCT is increasing accessibility throughout The Great Trail for people with disabilities.
Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow partnership for AccessOutdoors / Trails for All project. Mapping day at Stanley Park Seawall in Vancouver, British Columbia with Richard Peter. Alexa Fernando<p>This partnership also comes at a time when access to outdoor recreation is more important to Canadian citizens than ever. <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527b-eng.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Studies from the spring of 2020</a> indicate that Canadian's <a href="https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/moneytalk-mental-health-during-covid-19-1.1567633" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mental health has worsened</a> since the onset of social distancing protocols due to COVID-19. </p><p>The <a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/safe-activities-during-covid19/art-20489385" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mayo Clinic</a> lists hiking, biking, and skiing as safe activities during COVID-19. Their website explains, "When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected."</p><p>TCT leadership took this into consideration when embarking on the accessibility project. McMahon explains that there has never been a more important time to bring accessibility to the great outdoors: "Canadians have told us that during these difficult times, they value access to natural spaces to stay active, take care of their mental health, and socially connect with others while respecting physical distancing and public health directives. This partnership is incredibly important especially now as trails have become a lifeline for Canadians."</p><p>Together, these organizations are paving the way for better physical and mental health among all Canadians. To learn more about the TCT's mission and initiatives, check out their <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/stories/" target="_blank">trail stories</a> and <a href="https://thegreattrail.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TCT_2020-Donor-Impact-Report_EN_8.5x14-web.pdf" target="_blank">2020 Impact Report</a>.</p>