Lucky Green Auroras Fill The Sky On St. Pat’s Day Morning

An intense aurora flames over Duluth, Minn. this Sunday morning before dawn. The whole northern sky was lit up. Photo: Bob King

If it’s still dark where you live, go out and look at the northern sky. It’s been lit up with lively and bright auroras since at least 4 a.m. here in Duluth, Minn. The display raged right up through morning twilight. After a quiet night, the Kp index shot up to “6” or moderate storm level around 3 a.m. CDT. Aurora chances continue today and into the evening.

Enough words – how about a few more photos:

A rare red ray pokes out from among an aurora that was mostly green with occasional blues. At the time of the photo – 4:35 a.m. CDT – rapid waves of aurora washed across the sky. Photo: Bob King
An amazing display of blue-purple rays topped the green aurora just before dawn Sunday morning. The temperature dropped to -24 F at dawn — tough on the camera batteries! Photo: Bob King
Crown of glory! Photo: Bob King
Pardon the power lines, but I just had to get the shot of these dual bands of auroral rays. Photo: Bob King

10 Responses

  1. Edward M. Boll

    Completely overcast here this morning. In the South Hemisphere, green Lemmos reaches it’s brightest within a week. Although at near 4.5 magnitude, I suppose that it is possible to reach magnitude 4. Most of us may have difficulty locating it with large binoculars by the end of April.

  2. Ugh…I was out til 1:45 am and noticed the classic auroral glow and thats it, then clouds. I decided to call it a night. I guess it cleared out as many in my area seemed to have taken quite a few excellent pictures of the aurora, including yourself!
    There havent been too many opportunities as of lately..
    Im kind of bummed out.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Brian,
      Such a close call! That hurts. I would not have seen the aurora but for the fact I got up to look for a new comet in the a.m. sky. As soon as I looked out the window to check on the sky at 4:15 I was blown back. What! I had to layer up because of the cold. Never has getting dressed seem to go so painfully slow. All I wanted to do was run outside. A little cold for that!

      1. Im for sure happy for you, maybe the will hang around till evening! WHo knows though, thats asking for alot since it was near midnight when the impact actually occurred.
        Will see. Tonight should be good regardless since it will be clear for awhile.

        1. astrobob

          I know that polar auroras are more likely tonight than mid-latitude, but if you check the Kp index, it’s crankin’ this afternoon.

  3. Mike

    Great photos Bob! Please give details of your lovely colored images! Thanks! For th comet info too! Take care!

    1. astrobob

      Hi Mike,
      I shot a few at ISO 800 with a 16-35mm f/2.8 zoom and exposure of 13 seconds. Others were taken at ISO 1600 and 5-7 seconds.

  4. lyn

    Where can I check the Kp index? Also, congrats on your photos making it on
    national t.v., (NBC). It was very exciting to hear “Duluth” mentioned, and see your photos.

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