THE SOLAR WIND HAS ARRIVED: As predicted, Earth is entering a stream of solar wind flowing from a hole in the sun’s atmosphere. First contact on Nov. 10th sparked faint but colorful polar auroras in the southern hemisphere, shown here in a photo taken by Ian Griffin on New Zealand’s Otago Peninsula:
“As I set up my cameras to record some star trails over Hoopers Inlet tonight (the southern cross reaches its lowest point just after sunset here in NZ at this time of year) I noticed a glow in the South,” reports Griffin. “Over the next hour or so a beautiful display of the aurora australis daubed the sky in pastel colours. You can see this is an aurora australis by the reflection of the southern cross and pointers in the water!”
More Southern and Northern Lights are in the offing as the solar wind envelops Earth’s magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras throughout the weekend. Free: Aurora Alerts.