Northern Lights – Round Two Tonight?

The Kp index graph shows that the auroral storm began about 1 p.m. (CDT) yesterday and is still going strong at 7 p.m. today. Click to see the current Kp. Credit: NOAA

(UPDATE 12:30 a.m Monday.: Aurora is out! Tall, pulsating rays are reaching to the zenith. See photo below. The band of northern lights now extends well into the northern U.S.)

My city is mostly cloudy, but that sure didn’t stop the aurora from knocking on the door again tonight. At 10 p.m. (CDT) the auroral oval was still huge and active.   It’s been that way the entire day since Saturday night – this is one long-duration geomagnetic storm.

My take on the recent satellite plots indicate that the Scandinavian countries, Scotland and northern Maine were experiencing auroras early Sunday evening. The rest of the northern U.S. followed suite at nightfall into the small hours of Monday morning.

The auroral oval is already sagging down in the direction of the U.S. as of 8 p.m. (CDT) Sunday July 15. Credit: NOAA

There doesn’t appear to be any letup at this point, so if you live in the northern half of the U.S. and you’ve got good weather, head out somewhere with a wide open view to the north during evening twilight. Oh, and don’t forget the bug spray.

I’ll watch the buttons and dials back here in the control room, but if you spot the shimmery green stuff, please let me know so I can update with your on-the-ground reports. The more eyes the better. Good luck and may the electrons be with you!

A lucky clearing in Duluth between 11:15 and midnight revealed a northern sky busy with colorful rays of green and purple. Photo: Bob King

 

33 Responses

    1. astrobob

      Hi Jay,
      Around 11 is a good time to start looking, but so far, skies are pretty cloudy. I’m seeing a short slot of clearing around 1-2 a.m.

  1. Shelley Paulson

    We’re flirting with clouds here in the northwest metro. I’m hoping they clear so I can head out again. I’ll be more patient tonight!

  2. larsa

    Everyone up north is so lucky right now, I wish I still lived in MN but I’m currently in texas. Any chancenortheast texas will get to see any?

    1. astrobob

      Larsa,
      You never know. It’s possible. Auroras were seen I think as far south as Arkansas last night.

  3. Becky new in town

    We were out last night and only saw the white arc… No colors. I have never seen it before so I’m praying tonight we have a let up with the clouds (Duluth). Would you say that brighten beach is a good place to view?

  4. Diane

    We live by Chetek. What’s a good time to head out to the country to watch? Stars are bright right now.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Diane,
      I’d go north of town for a good view of the northern sky. Best time to start looking is right now in late twilight. The aurora should be out. The aurora typically peaks around midnight-1 a.m. but that can vary.

  5. Gene W. Anderson

    I’m orginally from Portland, ND–now in Vegas for 30 yr’s
    Thanks for the post & pic’s-many memories—

  6. Tim

    Hello Bob, driving up from the cities with the hopes of viewing the lights. I see Duluth is at high cloud cover for several hours. Do you suggest heading over to Mcgregor as it appears to be clear there? Or do you need to stay near the North shore to see the Northern Lights? Thanks much for your posts and help!

    1. astrobob

      Tim,
      McGregor area sounds excellent. Plenty far north. We do have clear skies in Duluth right now. Not sure how long they’ll last. The aurora is out in the north.

  7. Miranda

    Haven’t seen any aurora’s here in TN yet. But i must say this has been one of the best views of the milky way I have ever seen. So so perfect.

    1. astrobob

      Miranda,
      Keep your eyes peeled. They’ve started up again in Duluth. Maybe they’ll stretch your way!

  8. brian r

    Thank you for your always interesting information. You are indeed a great source of things astronomic … espe ially the Auroras.

    Thanks again!

  9. Saint Aardvark the Carpeted

    We’ve got them on St Joseph Island (right close to Sault Ste Marie Ontario & Michigan). Thanks very much for the heads-up!

  10. Hillary

    I have a cabin in Grand Marais Michigan and its killing me that we are not up there right now. I’m in Akron Ohio and the light pollution is killing me here!

    1. astrobob

      Thanks everybody for your reports! We’re sort of clear in Duluth – the aurora fills much of the northern sky but looks mushy.

  11. larsa

    Hi there its me again! Nothing last nite texas prolly cuz of light pollution. I’m curious if the storm cell show on the satellite will just vanish or move southwest over the next few days. Also I am curious if these auroras will be active in the next few days or even next week so I can be on the lookout. In march we had some red ones here.

  12. Mike Thiele

    Great photos Bob! What camera do you use? Great colors and shapes!

    The display I saw from 12:30 to 1:30 was muted…humidity in the air?? Nothing was very bright or colorful when I was looking near I Falls.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Mike,
      Thanks! I use a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and a wide angle zoom all on top of one of the junkiest tripods in the world. Last night’s display was only nice to the eye for about a half hour here in Duluth, too. Lots of haze and thin clouds before and after.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Jenny,
      They’re on the wane, but yes, if you live in the northern U.S. you might see some aurora low in the sky.

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