Aurora update April 13-14 – nothing yet, but …

Cassiopeia, Comet PANSTARRS and a bit of aurora tonight from Duluth, Minn. around 10:15 p.m. Details: 35mm lens at f/2.8, ISO 1600, 30-second exposure. Photo: Bob King

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.

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About astrobob

My name is Bob King and I work at the Duluth News Tribune in Duluth, Minn. as a photographer and photo editor. I'm also an amateur astronomer and have been keen on the sky since age 11. My modest credentials include membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) where I'm a regular contributor, International Meteorite Collectors Assn. and Arrowhead Astronomical Society. I also teach community education astronomy classes at our local planetarium.

5 thoughts on “Aurora update April 13-14 – nothing yet, but …

  1. Thank you for posting updates on the northern lights. I’ve been staying up, checking outside,…hoping when I go inside I am not actually missing the show like has been the usual case this past year..You have a great blog. I enjoy it a lot:)

  2. It will be Thursday before I can look for the comet if it is clear. I have calculated Lemmon rising about 90 minutes before sunrise on the 20th. This should be a very close estimate for the north USA.

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