Aurora Out Tonight April 12 In Duluth, Minn.

Active aurora spreads across the lower half of the northern sky about 10 p.m. CDT tonight from Rice Lake Township north of Duluth. Photo: Bob King

Just a heads up from Duluth, Minn. The Kp index hit “5” at 9 o’clock tonight and the northern lights are putting on a modest show as of 10 p.m. CDT. We have high clouds moving in, but a chunky green arc with a few active rays are sliding around low in the northern sky. The ray tops are reaching about 20 degrees (two fists held at arm’s length); the arc’s about 10 degrees up. There’s a fair amount of movement, but you’ll need to get out of town to a place with a good northern horizon to appreciate it.

The auroral oval is expanding southward tonight. We can see its edge as active auroral arcs low in the north from the northern U.S. The red line is the approximate edge of visibility. Credit: NOAA

3 Responses

  1. Lynn

    Hi Bob,
    I was just reading an article on the nasa webiste about how astronomers are hunting a class of supermassive black holes throughout the universe called blazars and this has revealed over 200 with the potential of finding thousands more but it says that the black holes are feeding or pulling matter onto them, and as the matter is dragged towards the supermassive hole some of the energy is released in the form of jets travelling at nearly the speed of light and that the blazars are unique because their jets are pointed directly at us, is this safe for us on earth and can it do us any harm, thanks if you can help again Bob 🙂

    1. astrobob

      Hi Lynn,
      Great description of blazars. I’ve seen about a dozen in my telescope – they look like faint stars but their brightness can vary over weeks and months (sometimes days). They’re all extremely far from Earth and don’t threaten us in any way. The closest black hole to Earth is about 6,000 light years away – that’s way out there!

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