Northern Lights Bloomed Late Last Night And May Return Again Tonight

A low green auroral arc glows quietly in the north early this morning. Credit: Bob King

Last night’s bump in auroral activity took a long time to develop into a nice display. A funky green arc low in the northern sky glowed meditatively for hours. Not until 1 a.m. did it stir. A few faint but lofty rays grew from the band and reached up toward the North Star. These faded, reappeared and finally regrouped to create a beautiful crown-like rayed arc.

After a long, quiet spell, a ray finally sprouts from the arc early this morning about 1 a.m. Credit: Bob King

The lights cooked all night as the fireflies zipped and flashed about. What a wonderful coincidence that firefly green neatly matches the aurora’s tint. Last night’s minor storm was visible across the upper Midwest in places like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. There’s a small chance for minor storms again tonight. As of 6 p.m. CDT this evening, activity is up a little and the direction of the solar wind is still south, favorable for auroras. Be on the lookout.

Peak of the display occurred around 1:30 when a large arc punctuated by rays appeared along with the band. Firefly trails are seen at upper and lower left. Credit: Bob King

6 Responses

  1. Edward M. Boll

    I wish that I would have looked to the north this morning. I slept in. Beautiful thin Crescent Moon tonight, easily visible to the naked eye to the lower left of Venus. I read that one report put Periodic Comet 29 at magnitude 10.4 on July 1, because of an outburst.

    1. astrobob

      Hi Edward,
      Yes, 29P had a bright outburst in June. Very low from Duluth but was able to see it in time. Now expanding and fading.

  2. Katie

    Hi Bob, I live just south of the Twin Cities and have been hoping to find a night to catch the aurora. I’ll have to drive a ways to get away from city light pollution, so I’ve been waiting for a promising forecast. At what point can I assume the aurora will be visible down here, and what are my best chances of finding out at least a few hours ahead of time?

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