Aurora Alert Tonight And Tomorrow Night Sept. 19-20

Pretty aurora above the trees along the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth this morning around 4 a.m. when Venus (right) rose. Another show is expected overnight tonight. Credit: Matthew Moses
Pretty rays poke above the trees along the shore of Lake Superior in Duluth at 4 a.m. this Sunday morning; at right, Venus rises over the lake. Another show is expected overnight tonight. Credit: Matthew Moses

(UPDATED Sept. 20) A combination of coronal holes, minor CMEs (coronal mass ejections) and a good helping of solar wind shook up Earth’s magnetic environment tonight and will again Sunday night. Minor G1 storm conditions were forecast (Kp=5) for both nights, but in this wee hours this morning (Sept. 20), conditions quickly went from minor to major storm — G1 to G3 — with fine pillars of mostly green aurora visible across the Upper Midwest.

A coronal mass ejection burst from the sun in the direction of Earth in the early morning of Sept. 18, 2015 that's expected to arrive later this weekend. This photo was taken by the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory which uses a disk to block the sun (white circle) so it can photograph the solar corona and other activity. Credit: NASA/ESA
A coronal mass ejection burst from the sun in the direction of Earth in the early morning of Sept. 18, 2015 that’s expected to arrive later this weekend. This photo was taken by the orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory which uses a disk to block the sun (white circle) so it can photograph the solar corona and other activity. Credit: NASA/ESA

Whenever seeking aurora, keep watch on the northern sky for low arcs and small, flame-like rays. Be sure you’re well away from town, preferably north of it, and allow your eyes 10-15 minutes to adapt to the darkness. We’ll have some moonlight tonight but not enough to spoil the darkness. Good luck!

9 Responses

  1. Kathryn

    We’re over in WI by the Brule River looking for lights, haven’t seen any yet… Hopefully they will make an appearance later!

  2. Susan Jasko

    What are good places to view the northern lights close to the twin cities? I get 30 minute alerts now, not sure where to go to see them. What about Lake Nokomis?

    1. astrobob

      Susan,
      The most important thing is to go NORTH of the Cities because the aurora is mostly in the northern sky. I’d head up toward Hinckley, but you could probably find a spot between the northern edge of the metro area and Hinckley.

    1. astrobob

      Susan,
      I missed it because of the hour, but it looks like we had a nice moderate storm in the early morning hours.

    1. astrobob

      Photographer,
      We had a nice display this morning around 4-5 a.m. and they were active in n. Europe during the U.S. afternoon hours. The forecast suggests that early this evening is best, and then activity is expected to drop off.

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