Auroras Happening Right Now May 31-June 1

The aurora borealis is busy tonight painting the northern sky green. Even with clouds in the way, the lights were obvious. This photo taken at 11:40 p.m. May 31. Photo: Bob King

Clouds are thick tonight but not enough to blot out the northern lights. A storm’s in progress right now with a big old green glow covering most of the northern sky. If your skies are clear, head out for a look. This might just be the night you’ve been waiting for. The Kp index, an indicator of magnetic activity around the Earth, has shot up to “5” indicating a geomagnetic (aurora) storm is in progress.

The auroral oval has expanded toward the northern U.S. this evening and now covers half the sky as seen from Duluth, Minn. Credit: NOAA

The auroral oval, that Cheerio-shaped cap of permanent aurora around the north magnetic pole, now extends all the way down to N. Minnesota, Michigan and North Dakota. The “viewing line” where sky watchers can spot at least some aurora in the sky reaches across Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and West Virginia.

Check out the sky at your place, and if it’s clear, see if you spot the northern lights. This might be the night you’ve been waiting for.

9 Responses

  1. Bruce

    Been watching on the shore north of Brighton Beach. Wish the clouds would leave for just 10 minutes.

  2. Tim Tilberg

    We were at the north end of Brighton from 10:30 to 1:30 — Early on were lots of big blobs of green, and then at about 12:30 we had our chance, about 10 minutes of clear sky to watch the lights dance properly. It was quite nice.
    Then the clouds moved back in thicker than they had been all night.

    1. astrobob

      Sounds like your patience paid off. We were cloudy here at 12:30 but the intensity of the lights was impressive around 11:30.

  3. Pallavi

    Hi Bob, The KP index is 5 now, can we expect another show tonight? I live in the twin cities and was wondering if I should drive to Duluth

  4. Courtney

    I saw them in southern Minnesota. the sky was pretty clear, and very dark. There was a slight greenish moving glow all across the north. πŸ™‚ It made my night! I wasn’t expecting to see them, I just took my dog outside to go potty around midnight.

  5. Robert

    Hi Bob – We went out last night around 11 o’clock to take pictures of these amazing thunderstorms to the east of Fort Dodge Iowa. The lightning was really bright and constant so we knew we would get some good lightning photos. While we were setting up I walked around the vehicle to the north and instantly saw green in the northern sky. Wow two for the price of one. I didn’t even realize the auroras were going to be visible last night. It was amazing. I’m trying to send a photo, was really cool.

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