Aurora Snorealis: Vandy Doc Ruins Nashville Dork Community's Day



Solar storm will hit Bugtussle at 2:57, White Oak at 3:01 and Pumpkintown at 3:04
  • Solar storm will hit Bugtussle at 2:57, White Oak at 3:01 and Pumpkintown at 3:04
The Twitters are, um, a-twitter today over a solar storm that erupted from the sun earlier this week.

The "coronal mass ejection" is sparking speculation the spectacular aurora borealis - that's the "Northern Lights" to the laymen and Gordon Lightfoot/Joni Mitchell fans among you - could be visible far into the American South.

Such a rare event no doubt inspired a mass purchase of Jolt Cola as dorkdom prepared to stay up late for a reason besides a World of Warcraft campaign.

Leave it to a pesky scientist to ruin our day. That would be Dr. David Weintraub, a bigwig over at Vanderbilt's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

"Because there are more particles than usual, the northern lights and southern lights will be brighter and visible further south than usual."

So far so good, Doc.

"In this case - that means Minnesota and northern Illinois. It's incredibly unlikely, but it's conceivable, if everything was perfect. But I really doubt it for Nashville."

Thanks a lot. Now what am I going to do at 3 a.m.? At least the auroras aren't all that impressive, right?

"They are pretty cool to see. You normally have to go to Alaska or Sweden, but during these eruptions, you can see them through the northern tier of the U.S., but Tennessee? It's not going to happen," he says, ruining our life.

The good news - as if there could be any - is that these big eruptions no longer cause massive disruptions in communications. Especially important, given as this is the annual ichthyological celebration that is the Discovery Channel's Shark Week.

"You can't mess up Shark Week," Weintraub warns the sun.

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