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G3 STORM WATCH • Watch For Active Auroras Nov 2-4

(YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES) Northerners should be on the lookout for active auroras November 2-4 as Earth runs into a high speed solar wind stream, a fast-moving current of particles that originated from an Earth-directed coronal hole on the Sun. The latest NOAA forecast suggests the level of geomagnetic disturbance could escalate to G2 (Moderate) or G3 (Strong), which means colourful auroras are expected across the North and possibly across Canada if the solar wind speeds persist and G3 levels are achieved. Continue reading »

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WHAT’S UP? • Supermoon Lunar Eclipse This Weekend!

(YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES) Observers in the Northwest Territories will have an excellent view of the total lunar eclipse on Sunday, September 27. This year’s Supermoon will already be partially covered by Earth’s shadow as it rises in the East just before 7 p.m. local time.

Cameras and telescopes should be pointed due E at as the show gets under way. For about an hour and a half after moonrise the lunar disk will slowly advance towards the SE sky and will gradually develop a reddish hue.  An added treat for Northerners is the enhancement of the reddish colours due to the moon’s low position on the ESE horizon as the eclipse progresses towards totality. Continue reading »

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NEW SEASON • Yellowknife’s Aurora Forecast is Back!

(YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES) The return of dark skies means the 2015-2016 aurora season is officially under way – and with it comes the Yellowknife Aurora Forecast, Astronomy North Society’s most popular online service for Yellowknife families and visitors!

For over 10 years we have been proud to deliver a daily forecast that takes into consideration the latest space weather predictions and geomagnetic field conditions – combined with more than a decade of auroral observation at 68°N magnetic latitude – to create a unique local aurora forecast for the capital of the Northwest Territories – a community that is extremely well positioned under the auroral oval.

Let’s begin!

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FIRE CLOUDS • Pyrocumulus Cloud Formation July 4, 2015


(YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES) Noctilucent clouds are a common target of northern astronomers during the bright summer months, but with wildfires and smoke dominating the news and skies these days, it seems there may be a new summer cloud on the rise: pyrocumulus clouds or “fire clouds.”

This 45-second time-lapse movie shows a unique side view of pyrocumulus cloud formation on July 4, 2015. This “fire cloud” event was triggered by gusty north winds that fanned a wildfire ENE of Yellowknife for over 12 hours. Convection peaked just before noon (about 15 seconds into the movie) when the surging heat of the fire generated enough upward thrust to form a cumulus cloud that was easily seen from the capital.

Pyrocumulus clouds are a signature of atmospheric turbulence commonly attributed to forest fires and volcanic eruptions – and indeed Saturday’s clouds were grand – however these clouds were nowhere near as ominous as the massive pyrocumulonibus clouds that towered above Fort Smith and Wood Buffalo National Park last fire season.

Photographer James Pugsley used a Canon 6D to capture one image every 20 seconds for over 12 hours. Boat traffic on Yellowknife Bay is shown in the foreground for context.

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IMAGE GALLERY • Total Lunar Eclipse April 4, 2015

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