Alberta Foothills Weather

March 25

Space weather was going to be my focus in this post, and I was just gathering up some images when a M-class flare erupted from our ever so sleepy sun at 18:36z, hitting M1.7 at 18:56 (12:56pmMST). I was about to scratch out something about the first two spots that appeared yesterday, 987 and 988, how they were growing quickly, and that a third new spot was coming around the bend, when #3 jumped out with the biggest solar flare we have seen since June of 2007.

This flare appears to have come from a spot which has just come over the east limb of the sun and hasn’t been numbered yet, but should be 10989. Looking at the summary from solarsoft and SOHO, there was a nice CME, the bulk of it not earth directed, but we could still get a small hit from it.

Trying to decide if a hit has occurred may be difficult over the next week as we have a wind stream just about to arrive, a good sized coronal hole facing us now, it’s stream will arrive in a day or two and should give us stormy conditions for the next week, then mix in any goodies we get from the two spots that are facing us now. If this new spot continues to grow and be active, it will be in firing range in 2 or 3 days. Could be a fantastic week for northern lights, if we can see them..

Since the last post, it has been rather uneventful around here. A nice little low whipped up just south of Edmonton yesterday and left us a bunch of wind as it moved into Saskatchewan, sucking some cooler air down from the north, but no moisture. A little band of snow did set up to the south, with Anthony down in Airdrie reporting 6cm of snow there yesterday morning.

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This next week is such a mess on the forecast models that I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen. EC calling for some snow Thursday, a bit on the nippy side with a high of zero. Most models are showing a lot of moisture in a lazy flow from the west for Thursday and Friday, then more for the weekend. Some rain would be nice now to wash the dust off of everything.

Tonight is the best night in a long time to view the International Space Station from Alberta. The Space shuttle Endeavour is trailing along before it lands tomorrow. They make 4 passes:

1) 9:07 pmMST Appears almost due south, stays low and departs almost due east.
2) 10:40 pm Rises to the southwest, peaks near 30°, then sets ENE around 10:49.
3) 12:15 am Rises almost due west, passes nearly overhead and sets to the east at 12:24.
4) 1:49 am Very similar to the last orbit, wnw/ese, setting at 2:00.

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