Thrice Is Nice For Northern Lights, Aurora’s Out Tonight

The auroral oval just after midnight Thursday morning April 26. The red line shows roughly how far south the aurora is visible to an observer on the ground. Credit: NOAA

If your sky is clear and you live in the northern U.S. take a look outside tonight. The aurora is active again for the third night in a row. For the second night in a row, skies are cloudy in Duluth otherwise I’d be outside myself. The auroral oval map indicates that northern lights currently reach across southern Ontario and into northern Minnesota. This instance of aurora is caused by a coronal mass ejection (CME) released by the sun on April 23.

Cloudy by you too? There’s another chance for auroras Thursday night before things quiet down for the weekend.

10 Responses

  1. audra burcham

    Your site is terrific! Thank you for it.
    My puppies are always bringing in little black rocks which I thought were landscaping material. They look the same as your pix of meteorite pieces.
    Maybe they are on to something. How would one know?
    Thank you, Audra Burcham, Rancho Santa Fe, CA

    1. astrobob

      Hi Audra,
      Thank you! Chances are slim your dogs are randomly picking up meteorites since they’re really hard to find and there are lots of black rocks out there. Things to look for in real meteorites are:
      * Thin layer of black, fresh, fusion crust
      * Generally meteorites are pale white beneath the crust and often have sparks of pure metal in them. They will be attracted to a magnet.

      You can also send a piece to have it tested. Here’s a link with more information and testing sites: http://www.meteoritestudies.com/protected_FOUND.HTM

  2. Mollie Anunti

    How’s it looking for Northern Lights tonight?!?!

    I can’t believe I live on 60th and had NO idea they were going on!! I’m SO upset I missed them!

    Thanks for the awesome website I come on often, apparently I haven’t in 3 days because I missed them 3 days in a row.

    ~Mollie

    1. astrobob

      Mollie,
      If you mean 60th in Duluth, don’t fret too much. Monday night was the only partly-clear night they were out. Both Tues. and Weds. nights were overcast.

    1. astrobob

      Mollie,
      Yes, there’s a chance for tonight AND the sky is clear. I’ll update with a report if they’re likely to be visible.

  3. Mollie

    Thank you!!!!

    We tried to see them in March but we missed you update by a day. Ha ha

    I guess I need to check more frequently.

    As far as northern lights go, how common are they for our area?

    1. astrobob

      Mollie,
      We have lots of minor displays that need dark skies to see well, but we’re fortunate to be in a good place for the big ones. How common the aurora is depends on where the sunspot is in it 11-year cycle. It’s on the rise right now, so we’ll probably get to see around 30 auroras this year.

  4. Mollie

    It looks like the kp index is still quite low. Probably no northern lights tonight. Thanks for all the indie earlier today. I’ll make sure to keep a closer eye on you posts so I can catch the northern lights. 🙂

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