Aurora Hunting Success – St. Patrick’s Day Storm 3/17/2015

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We had a great night of aurora hunting in Burlington, Vermont last night. Two NLN authors, Dan and Charles, pictured below, were able to see Northern Lights over Lake Champlain in Burlington Vermont.

Charles and Dan
Charles and Dan Shelter from the wind while time lapse camera snaps photos

There were two periods of clear skies filled with aurora glow and punctuated with pillars, and a green curtain. It was clear from about 8:30 – 9:30 and again from 12:30 to 1:30am. In the middle, there was an amazing snow squall with 30 MPH winds.

Here’s a teaser image from the shoot, and below it a produced time lapse from the evening that is posted to our youtube channel. Come back soon for a full write up of the night’s events and a storm recap. In the meantime, welcome to the NLN site and feel free to browse around!

Purple Aurora Pillars
Aurora glow and purple pillars visible in NLN’s photograph from St. Patrick’s Day Aurora Storm 2015

Happy Hunting!

G4 Geomagnetic Storming Produces Aurora Around the World 3/17/2015-3/18/2015

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KP values have been at storm level for over 18 hours leading to amazing Aurora shows around the globe. With sunset approaching the eastern United States, and the storm continuing, North American Aurora hunters are in for a treat. The ongoing solar storm is buffeting Earth with highly charged particles. The storm launched a couple days ago from Active Region 2297 on the sun:

Solar Magnetogram
Solar Magnetogram from 3/9/2014 with Active Region 2297 magnified

It takes about three days for a plasma cloud launched from the sun to arrive at Earth. It is still difficult to know exactly the shape and power of the cloud until it arrives at Earth. The SWPC (space Weather Prediction Center) announced a G1 Geomagnetic storm watch for today two days ago. The storm has been much stronger than predicted and will rank in the top Aurora storms of all time.

Here are a couple amazing images as posted on twitter:

Alaska:

Finland:

New Zealand:

G4 Aurora with KP=8.67 For Saint Patrick’s Day 3/17/2015

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Aurora reports are streaming in from around the world about the ongoing Aurora show. Today’s predicted G1 geomagnetic storm has far exceeded expectations. In a G1 storm, KP=5 and northern lights can be visible in southern Canada and northern New Zealand. This storm is registering as G4 with a KP=8.67. That means Aurora can be visible in mid-latitudes (London, Ireland, Germany, Pennsylvania, Ohio).

The combination of a coronal mass ejection from the Sun earlier this week from active sunspot region 2297 and the spring equinox have made this a particularly strong solar storm. If the KP stays high as it gets dark Europe and North America are in for quite a St. Patty’s day treat.

This is probably one of the top 20 solar storms you will experience in your lifetime. Here’s an image from the NLN Current Kp Real-time Chart from around noon EST:

KP chart showing current activity
NLN’s current KP real-time chart shows active aurora activity from 3/17/2015

Stay tuned to NLN, we’ll post updates as aurora reports come in

Happy hunting!