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Strongest Solar Storm in 7 Years Today and Tonight; Some May See Aurora Borealis Overhead

Tue January 24 2012 7:07 pm
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The Aurora Borealis, known as the Northern Lights, have been visible over Scotland and large parts of northern England. Report by Sophie Foster.

The largest solar storm in seven years is expected to send solar wind and a shower of radioactive solar particles at the Earth at almost 1,400 miles — possibly peaking tonight and early tomorrow.

Solar flares release up to a billion tons of matter and may cause unusually large display of auroras, which may be visible at lower latitudes than normal. The aurora displays in England and Scottland were seen at about 50° to 53° latitude. Chicagoland is at a lower latitude of about 41°.

Unfortunately, the local weather forecast has changed to mostly cloudy for Chicagoland overnight, so the Aurora are not likely to be seen. Unless it lights up some clouds.

The Statistical Auroral Oval gives an idea where the strongest aurora display may be. The red arrow displays high noon on earth. Click the image for the current activity.

Compilation of Jan 20-22, 2012 Aurora Borealis, shot in time lapse using a Nikon D700 in Arctic Village, Alaska. Music composed and performed by Quinn Mason, a 9th grade student from Dallas, Texas.

Time lapse from Aurora Sky Station (

CLEAR SKIES?  Weather Data for Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

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RSS Cardinal Weather Center

  • Current Conditions : 69.8F, Clear - 4:18 AM CDT May. 25
    Temperature: 69.8°F | Humidity: 77% | Pressure: 29.99in (Rising) | Conditions: Clear | Wind Direction: SSW | Wind Speed: 0.0mph
  • Tonight as of May. 25 3:41 AM CDT
    Tonight - Mostly cloudy. Showers and thunderstorms likely in the early evening...then a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Patchy fog after midnight. Lows in the mid 60s. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 70 percent.
  • Today as of May. 25 3:41 AM CDT
    Today - Mostly cloudy. Showers and thunderstorms likely in the late afternoon. Highs in the mid 80s inland...but only in the lower 80s near the lake. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 60 percent.
  • Thursday as of May. 25 3:41 AM CDT
    Thursday - Partly sunny with a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. Southwest winds 10 to 15 mph.


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