ORIONID METEOR SHOWER: Earth is entering a stream of debris from Halley's Comet, source of the annual Orionid meteor shower. Specks of comet dust are hitting our atmosphere at 65 km/s and disintegrating in bright steaks of light. Forecasters expect the shower to peak on Oct. 21-22 with as many as 25 meteors per hour. The best time to look is during the dark hours before dawn when the constellation Orion is high in the sky. [sky map] Free: Aurora Alerts.
LAST NIGHT, NORWAY BECAME GREEN-LAND: An uptick in the solar wind speed on Oct. 19th was just enough to unsettle our planet's magnetic field, igniting bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. In Tromsø, Norway, the whole world turned green:
"There were auroras in the sky, auroras on the water, auroras everywhere!" says photographer Markus Varik "The lights came out as soon it got dark and lasted the whole night, giving us plenty of time to take some cool photos."
"Supposedly we're heading to Solar Minimum," adds Varik, "but to be honest, as a seasoned Northern Lights guide I have never seen such a strong beginning to the season."
It could get even stronger in the nights ahead. NOAA forecasters say there is a 45% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Oct. 21-22 when a new solar wind stream arrives. The nearly-New Moon will provide a backdrop of velvety-dark skies for auroras. Free: Aurora Alerts.
"A fascinating weather pattern is in place in the Northern Hemisphere this week. It’s a river in the sky that spans the full width of the Pacific Ocean from Asia to North America. The phenomenon is remarkably obvious — a plume of clouds with a few areas of low pressure embedded, transported at shocking speeds across the planet’s largest ocean via the jet stream.
Plainly spoken, it’s a train of rain on its way to Washington State."
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