With only a slight chance for auroras overnight Aug. 13-14 I was surprised to catch a decent little show starting around 11:30 p.m. The display peaked about midnight-12:30 a.m. this morning August 14 and then settled back to a quiet arc. That’s where it stands now at 2 a.m. CDT, If your skies are clear it would be worth a look in case activity picks up.
I almost posted an alert before leaving for the countryside to view Neptune and a new comet but all looked quiet at the time. When I arrived, a pale whitish arc hung low in the north. Not 10 minutes later the arc burst into rays that reached 20-30 degrees high. Some were very bright, other like faint fingers.
My eyes saw pale green and maybe hints of red, but time exposures with the camera recorded spectacular colors. The likely cause for this show of northern lights is the early arrival of streams of faster-moving solar particles flowing from a large coronal hole in the sun’s northern hemisphere.
Since so many of you have been out watching the Perseid meteor shower, I’m hoping you caught this surprise gig. Speaking of which, I saw a half dozen shower members this morning and was hardly even trying. The space weather forecast calls for “active” conditions the next couple nights, one level below “minor storm”. I’ll keep you posted.