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| Earth | Human World on Mar 18, 2013

Auroras seen at high and mid-latitudes this weekend

As expected, the March 15 coronal mass ejection or CME from the sun caused auroras, or northern lights, at high and mid latitudes.

The sun ejected a fast-moving, Earth-directed coronal mass ejection (CME) on March 15 that was expected to create a geomagnetic storm and subsequent auroras this past weekend. And so it did, around both the northern and southern parts of Earth’s globe. The CME hit Earth’s magnetic field at 0600 UTC Sunday morning (March 17, 2013), or around 1 a.m. CDT in the central U.S. According to spaceweather.com:

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.

Meanwhile, auroras were also seen in the far Southern Hemisphere (for example, in Australia). The geomagnetic storm from the March 15 CME continued to spark auroras Sunday night, although on Sunday night we didn’t hear of any mid-latitude auroras. The reports we got were from places like Sweden, Norway and Finland.

March 17, 2013 aurora photographed by Chris Schuler in Ft. Yukon, Alaska.  David Schuler wrote in his beautiful blog Gwichyaa Zhee,

March 17, 2013 aurora photographed by Chris Schuler in Ft. Yukon, Alaska. David Schuler wrote in his awesome blog Gwichyaa Zhee, “Some call it a collision of charged particles in the atmosphere. We call it beauty. The lights were dancing a jig tonight, quick and bright. Chris made this photograph near our cabin.” View larger.

Read more about why this past weekend was so good for auroras

Tony Bateman – EarthSky friend on Facebook, from Korpo (formerly part of Finland) – captured the video below on March 17. He wrote:

About 6 Hours of aurora in under 1.35 minutes of video. Solar storm of 17th March 2013. Reached KP7 strength for many hours. The whole sky was filled in all directions, this video caught a small amount of the show.

Geologist and astrophotographer Colin Legg captured this amazing image of the aurora as seen from Australia on March 17. He calls this photo Fire in the Sky.

March 17, 2013 aurora as seen from Australia via Colin Legg.  View larger.

March 17, 2013 aurora as seen from Australia via Colin Legg. View larger. Visit Colin’s Facebook page for more beautiful photography.

Plus we got several wonderful photos from Facebook friends at high northerly latitudes of last night’s aurora.

Birgit Boden in Sweden saw Jupiter near the moon last night (March 17), plus an aurora.  Awesome, Birgit!

Birgit Boden in Sweden saw Jupiter near the moon last night (March 17), plus an aurora. Awesome, Birgit!

March 17, 2013 aurora from Geir Walmann in Norway.  Thank you, Geir!

March 17, 2013 aurora from Geir Walmann in Norway. Thank you, Geir!

Bottom line: Auroras seen at high and mid-latitudes on March 17, 2013. Photos and links to photos here.