Another Aurora Surprise — Minor Storm Weds. Night -Thurs. Morning

A bright auroral arc topped with eerie blobs glowed above the northern horizon for several hours this evening. Bob King

I always make a point of stepping outside to check the northern sky before going to bed. I did that Wednesday and — suprise! — there was the aurora. I drove to an open area for a better look. It was a chill night with fog spreading and mingling with the heavenly light, but a low, thick arc burned brightly 10° high in the northern sky.

Around 11:45 p.m. (Sept. 4) a second faint arc formed followed by slow-rising blobs of diffuse green light that mimicked the shape and motion of the bubbling blobs in a lava lamp. A few pink rays appeared below the Big Dipper. I watched for nearly an hour, took a few photos and then returned home to post the news. If you’re still up this early morning (Sept. 5) and can get to a dark sky, the aurora remains very active low in the north. It’s bright and doing odd things. No display is like another.

Check the 3-day aurora forecast here and the Kp index of magnetic activity high overhead here. A Kp of 5 or higher constitutes a geomagnetic storm. As I write this, the Kp is around 5 — minor storm conditions.