True to form the aurora played the trickster last night. When we expected a G2 moderate storm, we saw instead a faint though beautiful series of feathery plumes across the northern sky. By 11 p.m. they had all but disappeared, so I drove further north to do some telescopic observing and wide-field photography.
About 1:15 a.m. the northern horizon began to brighten up again. Sensing another wave of auroral excitement in the offing I packed up and drove to a site with a great view of the northern sky. This time the aurora put some heart into it. Swirls of silhouetted clouds added to the beauty of the scene. Like watching the tentacles of an octopus in slow motion, rays unfurled from near the horizon and drew back again. Not a car drove by. In the silence of the night I had found sustenance. Isn’t that the reason we look up anyway?
But it was late, and I reluctantly got back in the car and put the aurora at my back. The storm never registered more than a Kp 5, but numbers will never be an accurate measure of an aurora’s beauty. And now the good news. The forecasters are calling for another minor storm (G1) tonight from about 7-10 p.m. CDT, so keep your eyes open for more.