Solar Storms May Give Us a Light Show
The National Weather Service has been been keeping a watch on our Sun as it starts to move into a phase of increased activity called Solar Max. The sun will throw off more stellar matter and radiation which is what causes the Northern Lights when it hits the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth. On a side note, this also makes for great radio listening with distant FM and AM stations coming in clearer. Don't surprised if you hear an AM station in Europe or Western Asia, or an FM from Maine or Canada. This could also cause some havoc with communication satellites in high orbit, so if your favorite TV station goes wonky, you know what's up.
But all this extra solar activity is going to cause the Northern Lights to appear brighter and farther from the North Pole than normal. So there is an excellent chance we'll be able to see the lights here in the Capital Region. I got to see them back in 2004 when I lived in South Dakota. And I can say that it really is a sight to see! So if you like looking up and seeing what the universe has to offer, you won't want to miss this.
So be on the look out as the Sun ramps up it's activity. Astronomers and scientists say the Sun will build through 2013 then clam back down a few months later. You can follow what's going on over at Space Weather. And if you're a fellow Amateur Radio Operator, I may catch you on the air.