Just got back from a quick look north. Comet PANSTARRS shone dimly but clearly in 10×50 binoculars in the W of Cassiopeia in the northwestern sky. I could easily see the brighter head and its short, diffuse tail about 1 1/2 degrees long (equal to 3 full moons side by side). The comet’s looks ghostly now compared to its glory days, but its basic form remains much the same.
Magnetic activity around the Earth kicked up a little earlier this evening before sunset in the eastern U.S. but has since fallen back. Judging by the satellite maps, it didn’t look like anyone watching from mid-northern latitudes would have seen an aurora. In the photo above, the camera recorded a minor blush of red and green aurora that barely cleared the northern horizon.
Things are quiet for the moment but that could change. There’s still a 45% chance of a minor auroral storm (15% chance of a major storm) overnight for middle latitudes like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and the like. Let’s hope it happens. If not, we’ll keep our chins up for the next one.