Sunday, March 17, 2013

Strong Geomagnetic Storm Creating Northern Lights As Far South As Colorado.

STRONG CME IMPACT: As predicted, a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field at 0600 UT on March 17th. The impact lifted the solar wind speed from 300 km/s to 700 km/s and sparked a moderately strong (Kp=6) geomagnetic storm. Northern Lights spilled across the Canadian border into the United States as far south as Colorado:

"Just after 4 am local time, the skies turned green and red behind the twin stone monoliths of Rabbit Ears Peak near Steamboat Springs, Colorado," reports photographer and astronomy professsor Jimmy Westlake.

In the contiguous United States, auroras also appeared above New York, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Michigan and the Dakotas. Scan the realtime photo gallery and count the states.

The show's not over. Geomagnetic storming is underway as Earth passes through the wake of the CME. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras

Taken by John Welling on March 17, 2013 @ Ashland,Wi.

Colorado Aurora
Taken by Jimmy Westlake on March 17, 2013 @ Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Taken by Robert Farrimond on March 17, 2013 @ Vantage, Washington State

Taken by Paul Robinson on March 17, 2013 @ 6 miles north of Saratoga, WY

Solar wind
speed: 604.5 km/sec
density: 2.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more dataUpdated: Today at 0156 UT

3-day Estimated Planetary K-index graph

Geomagnetic Storm Forecasts
The geomagnetic storm probabilities are the estimated chances of at least one 3-hour K index, at the indicated level, for each of the next 3 days.

Active: K = 4.
Minor storm: K = 5.
Major or Severe storm: K > 6.
The "K index" is a 3-hourly quasi-logarithmic local index of geomagnetic activity relative to an assumed quiet-day curve for the recording site. Range is from 0 to 9. The K index measures the deviation of the most disturbed horizontal component of the magnetic field.

SWPC ACE RTSW MAG 24-hour Updating Plot

Coronal Holes: 16 Mar 13
Solar wind flowing from this coronal hole could reach Earth on March 19-20. Credit: SDO/AIA.

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