Solar activity will certainly be a topic of discussion during the week! There have been three M-class flares today (March 28) with two associated coronal mass ejections (CME). These are expected to start impacting Earth during the evening hours of Wednesday (March 30) and into the day on Thursday (March 31). The timing, as of this post, has G2 storm levels (Kp 6) expected between the hours of 7-10pm AKDT on Wednesday evening. This is a perfect time for Alaska to see a ramp up in solar wind for an early aurora event! Keep in mind, however, that these forecasts can be off by several hours. That said, it could be early Thursday morning before we actually see the effects. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and our eyes on the skies!
Much of the state is currently experiencing mostly cloudy conditions. The exception to this is the central portion of Alaska, including the Fairbanks area, seeing good skies right now. In fact, the skies look very clear on the Poker Flats camera as of this writing. It looks like we should see conditions improving a bit through mid-week and then clouds become a factor for the southern third of Alaska as we move into the weekend.
Anchorage | Valdez | Soldotna | Talkeetna | Glennallen
Expect improving conditions through Tuesday (March 29) evening and into Wednesday. As Wednesday evening progresses, high clouds will start to creep into the area beginning early Thursday morning. Thursday evening and into Friday (April 1) morning, clouds should start to clear out a bit before moving back into the region by mid-morning on Friday. Once clouds return Friday morning, they look to be an issue for viewing conditions Saturday (April 2) and Sunday (April 3). It does look like some decent breaks are possible Saturday evening and into Sunday morning, so conditions could certainly improve as the week progresses.
The best aurora viewing days, if the solar wind supports activity, look to be Tuesday evening through early Thursday morning and Friday evening into Saturday morning. Sunday still looks like there might be a chance for decent breaks in the clouds, so keep an eye out for forecast changes.
Fairbanks | Delta Junction | Healy | Cantwell
Conditions should remain relatively cloud free for much of the area through mid-week. Some mid and upper-level clouds will move through the area Wednesday and into Thursday, but high pressure will keep fair and mostly cloud-free conditions prevalent for the region for most of the week. This begins to change as we move into Sunday morning, with clouds beginning to increase from south to north as the day progresses.
The best aurora viewing days for this area are pretty much Monday evening through early Saturday morning. As clouds begin to increase on Saturday, it may be difficult to see anything Saturday evening into Sunday; however, breaks are certainly possible Saturday evening.
Happy chasing if you are out and about! Updates, if necessary, will be provided in the comments!