Many of my photographers’ friends choose to photograph auroras relying only on very popular today mobile applications. Yes, they are litle bit useful, I use one of them myself.
But if we want to accurately plan our photographic trip is worth it to prepare better.
On the NOAA webside we will find useful information for this.
NOAA and NASA lead permanent observations of the sun and the heliosphere and all these informasias are available for free.
long-term announcements of the northern lights activity it’s like shooting a machine gun on a fence.
This is based on the history of previous activities and has not much to do with what really is going to happen.
The northern lights are the result of sun activity and more precisely a sunspots.
we only know that the activity cycle is about 11 years, and is not for sure.
Observations of the sun by people are not longer than 200 years (there are some mentions about observations in the times of Aristotle)
and the sun is almost 4,7 billion years old so we really know nothing.
However, based on the observation of the tools that NOAA gives us we are able to predict when and how strong the aurora will be.
more or less 😉
Using the SOHO preview, we can see how much plasma is eject from sunspots
Using the solar wind preview, we can quite accurately observe when and how much plasma will reach the Earth’s magnetic field (WSA-Enlil Prediction)
The coronal ejection usually reaches us after about 17-20 hours depending on the speed.
On it how the northern lights will look like it depends on speed. Values above 500km/s make it more attractive, more bent and nicely dancing. On the links given below you can find out everything you need to observe the sunny weather:
And below are some of my last observation photos