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.

5 Responses

  1. j

    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:)

    1. astrobob

      Excellent Ian – can I ask where you saw the aurora? Although I didn’t stay up all night, it doesn’t appear to have made it to Duluth or …?

  2. Edward M. Boll

    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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