Astronomers have long known that aurora borealis seems to come best around the spring and autumn equinoxes. Now, just in the last two years, studies show why.
According to Mike Murray, director of the Delta College Planetarium shows, Northern Lights presented a better show around the equinoxes because of the orientation of the Earth's axis. At the equinox, the axis of the Earth is neither inclined nor toward the Earth. Meanwhile, it is easier for the solar wind to reach the Earth in the atmosphere.
The solar wind is the wind that always blows towards the Earth. If charged particles are transported in the solar wind to the Earth, they will enter the Earth's magnetic field. The final result will be Northern Lights.
This is the time of year to think of Northern Lights. To find out when Aurora Borealis is possible, sign up to receive email alerts from spaceweather.com.
While the chances of the aurora borealis are even more common near the equinoxes, we still need solar flare ups, which are rashes on the sun. Unfortunately for aurora borealis enthusiasts, we are currently at a minimum of sunspots. Sunspots minimums have fewer solar flares and fewer northern lights on average. Even if sunspots are lacking, another process of creating aurora borealis is still possible: coronal holes. The coronal holes can open the sun's surface and let solar energy blow freely to the Earth.
There is still a chance that aurora borealis will have a coronal hole, but not as spectacular as the aurora borealis.
The sunspot cycle is about 11 years old, from one peak to the other. The sunspot cycle is not accurate, but we should find a peak of activity around 2024.
While the sunspot cycle is fairly steady, a period from 1645 to 1715 had no sunspots and called the minimum of Maunder. Humans have been documenting sunspots since Galileo observed them in 1615.