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

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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.

6 thoughts on “Northern lights bloomed late last night and may return again tonight

  1. 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.

  2. 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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