Coronal Hole Delivers G1 and G2 Aurora on 2/16 and 2/17

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Northern Lights Now – The expected high speed solar wind that prompted a G1 geomagnetic watch for February 17 arrived early, but delivered G1 and G2 storming conditions. The wind was faster moving than expected, clocking in around 670 km/s. The fast wind combined with periods of Bz south was enough to excite Earth’s geomagnetic fields. At the time of this blog post, there were 18 hours of continuous G1 and G2 – KP greater than 4.67 and 5.67 respectively – storming recorded, followed by another quick burst. Here is a graph showing the official readings from SWPC Boulder:

SWPC Boulder reports 7 periods, 21 hours, of G1 and G2 storming
SWPC Boulder reports 7 periods, 21 hours, of G1 and G2 storming

While this was a fairly strong aurora storm, there were not many aurora reports. Most of the prime viewing locations were clouded in. An large storm system across Iceland and the British Isles, general overcast across much of Scandinavia, and an East coast ice and snow storm prevented the viewers in the prime locations from experiencing this show. However, aurora hunters in some locations were able to capture the show:

New Zealand was treated to a brief period of lights just before sunrise as the storm started. Both Paul Le Comte and Ian Griffin got out of bed to snap pictures near Dunedin:

In Tasmania, @SussanSays saw the pinks and greens poke through what was forecast to be cloudy skies, and shared it in this Tweet

Eva Olsen captured greens with a hint of red/pink in Lapporten, Northern Sweeden:

Aurora hunter Darlene Tanner recorded the tail end of the storm from Alberta:

It’s possible storming could continue over the next 12-24 hours as disturbances travel along the fast wind stream, but decreases in density and wind speed indicate it’s likely this storm is now over.

Happy Hunting!