Sunday 17 March 2013

Earthbound Explosion - 17th March

March has been a bit of a drought month for me sun-wise in terms of getting any observations in; the weather only seems to be clear when i'm at work, and when i'm not just seem to get endless grey skies.  That doesn't mean to say the sun has been quiet, on march 15th a magnetic filament associated with AR11692 was launched into space due to the associated M - class flare in an eruption that lasted several hours.  Travelling from the sun at some 900 km/s, or 2 million miles per hour, the CME impacted Earth at around 0600ut on 17th march.  This has triggered a strong geomagnetic storm that is still going strong at the time of writing.  Should clear skies present themselves, skywatchers should remain vigilant for the strong prospect of aurora borealis this evening.  Given that Comet Pan STARRS is currently putting on a great show in the evening sky it could be a great photo opportunity.  I took this picture of the comet on the 13th march when it was low in the twilight.
If i'm not getting any direct sunlight I guess a bit of reflected sunlight is the next best thing!