Earth is entering a stream of solar wind

earth-is-entering-a-stream-of-solar-wind

Earth is entering a stream of solar wind blowing ~500 km/s, and the encounter is stirring up geomagnetic activity around the Arctic Circle. The solar wind data (velocity and proton density) presented on spaceweather.com are updated every 10 minutes. They are derived from real-time information transmitted to Earth from the ACE spacecraft and reported by the NOAA Space Environment Center. The location of ACE at the L1 libration point between the earth and the sun enables the spacecraft to give about a one hour advance warning of impending geomagnetic activity. The Sun–Earth L1 is suited for making observations of the Sun. Objects here are never shadowed by the Earth or the Moon. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is stationed in a Halo orbit at L1, and the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) is in a Lissajous orbit, also at the L1 point. WIND is also at L1.

The Earth–Moon L1 allows comparatively easy access to lunar and earth orbits with minimal change in velocity and has this as an advantage to position a half-way manned space station intended to help transport cargo and personnel to the Moon and back.

High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.
Photographer Antony Spencer reports “an amazing display” over Enontekio, Finland, on March 22-23:

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