Letter: Vivid post-Christmas Northern Lights possible

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Sir,

The Northern Lights are expected to be particularly prevalent between Christmas and New Year, with December 28 to 30 singled out as key dates when the Aurora is predicted to make an appearance.

Forecasting the Northern Lights is notoriously difficult; however, we’ve had a bit of help lately.

There has been a coronal hole on the surface of the sun for several months.

When time it is earth-facing, every 27 days, it has produced high speed streams of solar wind which have collided with the gases in our atmosphere to cause the Aurora to appear.

Currently on the far side of the sun, we can’t be sure that it is still stable but, if it is, then the earth could very well experience enhanced geomagnetic activity around 28/29/30 December 2018.

The lights may be visible on a wider scale around those dates, expanding out of the normal visible area that we call the Aurora Zone, to places like Northern Scotland, bringing some cheer to the closing days of 2018.

There may even be a second Coronal Hole, a few days behind, which might light up the skies early in the New Year, too.

As ever, there are no guarantees, but a New Year sandwiched by Northern Lights displays would be certainly something special to behold.

Alistair McLean,

Managing Director,

The Aurora Zone.

An amazing Kintyre Northern Lights photograph by Raymond Hosie in October 2015. c41aurora01no