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  • Welcome to Amazing Weather!

    I grew up in Kansas and have always been fascinated with the weather. Growing up, we had our mix of bad winter storms and very strong summer thunderstorms. I joined the Air Force in 1999 and, when a computer-related job was not open, I chose weather. It has helped me appreciate what Mother Nature has to offer. This website is simply my attempt to share that love and allow others to come to one common place on the Internet to do the same.
    Please enjoy your stay and feel free to leave any suggestions on how to make this a great community of weather enthusiasts!
  • Current Solar Wind

    Current Solar Wind Readings from DSCOVR via SWPC
    Received: Dec 01, 2021 09:42:00 UTC
    Bz: -5.64 nT | Bt: 7.02 nT | Density: 6.11 p/cm3 | Speed: 501.20 km/s | Expected Arrival: 50 mins (Dec 01, 2021 10:31:51 UTC)

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  • The Amazing Aurora Blog

    • By Ronnie in The Amazing Aurora Blog
      For those of us in Alaska, this holiday weekend has been a bummer of sorts...at least, for those of us itching for the chance to see Lady Aurora. The clouds and rain will continue to stick around through the weekend with conditions beginning to improve around mid-day on Monday (Sep 6). Solar activity is projected to pick up a little bit around then too, with a stream of solar material projected to begin heading our way. There may be a chance to see some activity in the early morning hours of Tuesday, but it does not look hopeful for much the rest of the week as clouds and rain return with the next weather system and persist through next weekend. As always, the weather models can be wrong, so it is good to keep an eye on the forecast for any changes.
    • By Ronnie in The Amazing Aurora Blog
      I don't know how many of you are like me: ready for the night! Here in the Anchorage area, we are starting to get longer nights, albeit slowly, but it is happening! The past couple of weeks have had us socked in with clouds and rain, so tonight is potentially going to be a long one. We have a couple of chances this week for good auroral activity!

      Image Source: SWPC
      The above image is from the Space Weather Prediction Center's WSA-Enlil model depiction. As you can see, midnight Alaska Daylight Time shows the first coronal mass ejection (CME) impacting Earth; a great time for us to see this happening since it will be dark! You can see the second CME behind it which is projected to impact us around nearly the same time on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning. Unfortunately for those of is in/around Anchorage, clouds look to be a factor for the arrival of the second CME. Tonight looks to be our best shot to start the season off great!
      Again, this is a model depiction, so it must be taken with a grain of salt. However, the data observed so far today appears to be in line with what the WSA-Enlil product is showing. If it holds true, we should be in for a treat tonight! 😄
    • By Ronnie in The Amazing Aurora Blog
      The offseason brought along some much-needed rest and relaxation. It also brought the need to make some changes to the app and make it...better! While the design is much the same as the previous three versions, the navigation tab needed an overhaul. The screen transitions with the old tab were clunky and caused speed issues while using the app. You should notice much more responsiveness when changing screens now!
      The move to the latest version also brought about a change in how the app provides insight to the user. Before, the potential to see aurora was designed and tested here in the Anchorage area; specifically, tailored toward 61N latitude. The goal of the app is to be global; meaning, it has to work well everywhere. Thus, the algorithm was completely revamped to account for this. Furthermore, seeing activity with varying degrees of data variables, it was evident that activity can happen in a wide array of scenarios. However, there are a few variables that highlight the greatest chance to see the lights. So, that is where the focus is now. Will it work? I don't know. So far, watching the lights across Canada and the only valid data for the area here in Anchorage this season points to YES!
      This newest version also added a goal: the gallery. Aurora activity is truly a thing of beauty and, while my focus is on video, several wonderful photographers capture her in all of her beauty. I wanted a way to showcase that and...now we've got it! Another recent addition (yesterday, in fact) was the WSA-Enlil model graphic for the current hour. Take it with a grain of salt...it is a model after all...but, it is a good visual of what the experts are projecting to happen in the current hour; and, it is great info to have to see if tonight might be a good night!
      I hope you enjoy the app! As development continues, it has been amazing to have a chance to put my web programming and education skills to the test! Current thoughts are still lingering about setting up a subscription fee but, truth be told, my payment is in the use and excitement I hear from people using it. Time will tell but I think, for now anyway, Amazing Aurora will continue to be free (with just one little pesky ad to deal with)! If you like what you see and you use the app, feel free to drop in a donation. Every little bit helps offset the costs of keeping the engine purring!
    • By Ronnie in The Amazing Aurora Blog
      We may...MAY...have another good shot at some good aurora activity coming up on April 16th. The weather for the week looks to be pretty bleak, but Friday's forecast is looking like partly cloudy skies with some potential clearing late. The problem is the lack of darkness. We will enter nautical twilight around 11:30 p.m. and come out of night at around 2:40 a.m. with the sun starting to move into sunrise. My experience this weekend was that activity was hard to see after about 3-4 a.m. due to the sun starting to rise and the activity being very faint. The Kp forecast is for a 4 on Friday, so we will see if that pans out and how it translates. Right now, I am looking to go out and set up around 1 a.m. but might go earlier depending on how data lines up. We shall certainly see!
    • By Ronnie in The Amazing Aurora Blog
      Well, you can't say we didn't try! We went out to Hatcher Pass last night, about an hour and 15 minutes north of our house, and sat there from 10:00pm until roughly 1:30am this morning. We were very hopeful we would see some activity. The space weather sites were talking about geomagnetic storming, forecasts were showing Kp index values forecast to hit 4 and 5, and Mother Nature gave us a rare, cloud-free night. It seemed like a perfect combination of variables for a great night of watching the northern lights...and, nothing!
      I am trained in terrestrial weather forecasting, so this space stuff is somewhat new to me. I did spend a couple of years analyzing the sun at one of our solar observatories, but we did not really do much with the solar wind, Kp, etc. Thus, I am learning about all of this stuff during this, my first winter in Alaska. I have gathered that solar wind speeds have to be elevated, above 400 km/s, with a density of at least 10 cm3, and a Bz in the negative. Last night, wind speeds were around 325 km/s, density was up just around 10 cm3 or slightly above, and the Bz was bouncing up and down. It wasn't great data, but the hope was there. Some started to see some faint lights after about 3:00am and I watched Facebook, in anticipation, until about 3:30am before I called it quits. It just wasn't meant to be. However, we did get some good out of it!
      I tested the latest iteration of my All-Sky camera. We successfully tested the off-network connection of the camera to my iPhone. This was a critical piece because the webserver for the camera can be utilized to view the latest live photo and make adjustments as necessary. Additionally, we tested that there is enough power from our vehicle's USB ports to power the camera while it sits on top of the roof. Thus, we were able to keep an eye on the sky from the warmth of the car and adjust exposure, gain, and other variables to see what worked best. In the end, it was a good trial run, even if Lady Aurora refused to put on a show!
      We may head out again tonight, but I am going to keep an eye on the cloud conditions. We have a pretty mature low-pressure system and ridge battling it out just over far western Alaska, so I am crossing my fingers that Mother Nature gives us one more shot at seeing some good activity from Lady Aurora this week. We'll see!
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  • Solar Wind Data

    3-Day SWPC Max Kp Forecast
    Wed, Dec 1Thu, Dec 2Fri, Dec 3
     005 001 001
     034 032 034
     063 062 062
     092 091 092
     122 122 123
     151 152 153
     181 183 184
     212 213 213
    Times Above in UTC
    Current Kp: 2Max Kp Next Hour: 3

    Solar Wind Expected Next Hour
      Expected ArrivalBzBtDensitySpeedHPI
      5 Minutes: -3.526.686.16510.047
      15 Minutes: -3.856.695.89506.447
      30 Minutes: -6.297.336.35507.749
      45 Minutes: -5.647.026.11501.252
      1 Hour: -5.647.026.11501.252
      SWPC Status:Solar Wind Data Current
    Kp Forecast Current
    HPI Current
      Legend PoorFairGood
      Bz: North (> 0) South (< 0)
      Bt: < 33 - 5.9≥ 6
      Density: < 44 - 7.9≥ 8
      Speed: < 300300 - 399≥ 400
      HPI: < 1515 - 39≥ 40

    Current Solar Wind Trends (Experimental)
      1-hr Avg-
      3-hr Avg-3.166.676.12512.3
      6-hr Avg-2.846.496.43520.9
      Trends Key for Bz:
      South | Neutral | North
      Trends Key for Bt, Density, and Speed:
      Improving | Neutral | Deteriorating

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