Welcome to the Northern Lighthouse Project website! The Northern Lighthouse Project is a new community outreach initiative dedicated to raising local awareness of space weather, geomagnetic storms and the science and splendour of Canada’s Northern Lights.
Auroras are common above Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Very common. This is largely due to the community’s proximity to the North Magnetic Pole (Yellowknife has a geographic latitude of 62° North, but most important has a geomagnetic latitude of 68 degrees). In addition, Yellowknife has historically been an excellent location for viewing auroras because of its semi-arid climate with excellent access to dark skies and a flat landscape that offers a full view of the night sky.
Space Weather At A Glance
Scientists keep a close eye on the solar wind, a steady stream of particles flowing outwards from the Sun. When an eruption occurs on the Sun (i.e. solar flares, solar filaments), space weather forecasters watch to see if a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) was launched in the direction of Earth. A CME is an energetic gust of solar wind capable of reaching Earth’s magnetic field within 2-4 days. As the CME sweeps past Earth, there is an elevated risk of geomagnetic storms. A geomagnetic storm is a magnetic field disturbance that can spark vibrant auroras across the Northand across Canada.
Yellowknife’s Space Weather Alert System
The capital of the Northwest Territories has an ideal magnetic latitude, with visible auroras almost every night, so it’s no wonder Yellowknife is the first community in the world to have its own space weather alert system. The Northern Lighthouse Project provides the community with information about incoming gusts of solar wind call Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that could have an effect on Yellowknife’s aurora forecast.
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