Chance of aurora across northern U.S. Friday night

A map of the auroral oval taken during the 7:13 p.m. Central time pass of the NOAA-POES satellite this evening. The bright red area is a good indicator of where the aurora is currently visible. Click on photo to see the updated view. Credit: NOAA

If you’re reading this in Scandinavia right now, stop and go outside to look at the northern lights. A modest storm is in progress over Norway, Sweden, Siberia, Iceland and Greenland this Friday evening (morning hours Saturday 2/5), and there’s a possibility that later tonight, folks in Canada and possibly the northern U.S. might see some auroral action as well. A gust of solar wind streaming from a hole in the sun’s outer atmosphere plus an ejection of gas that occurred late January are behind the activity. The Kp-index for this storm is currently at 5 which is ‘minor storm’. To learn more about the index, click HERE. For the very latest forecast, check out NOAA’s Space Weather Now.

As always, things can change quickly when it comes to the aurora. While this isn’t a big storm, it’s possible those living in the northern U.S. with clear skies might see at least a glowing, green auroral arch low in the northern sky. Worth a look, I’d say. A pity we’re cloudy in Duluth at the moment. The best time to be on the lookout will be late tonight, probably between 10 p.m. and dawn.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

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