Humble Aurora Peeps Out Tonight Jan. 4-5

A small display of pale green rays do a slow dance across the bottom of the northern sky around 10:45 p.m. Friday evening, Jan. 4. Bob King

The forecast was for minor aurora earlier tonight. So I took a walk and could faintly see a little glow down along the northern horizon. That was around 8 p.m. (Central Time). I returned to the same spot around 10:45 p.m. to find a neat little display of faint rays low in the northern sky not more than a dozen degrees high. I really didn’t expect to see anything, but dark skies made the dim display easy to spot. As the first activity visible in our region for some time, it was most welcome.

The source of tonight’s aurora was a coronal hole on the sun, a generally reliable source of northern lights when sunspot and flare activity are wanting. Observers living in the northern regions of the northern border states may want to take a look tonight and early Saturday morning. Here’s the latest forecast. If you missed the display or tried to see it and couldn’t, don’t feel too bad. It was low, rather faint and really only visible in dark skies. Let’s hope we get more soon!