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Auroras on May 10-11 wowed millions! Pics here

Auroras everywhere!

Pink, magenta, and green light stretches diagonally across the sky above the silhouette of somebody with their arms outstretched and their face lifted toward the sky.
Our own Will Triggs in the UK – producer of one of our most popular videos on YouTube – also captured auroras. Magnificent! Thank you, Will. We’ve received so many aurora pics! See a collection of favorites here.

On Friday, May 10, 2024, space weather forecasters began predicting a “severe” solar storm. When it came, it was even stronger than predicted, at “extreme” levels. So many people saw amazing displays of auroras from places at latitudes as low as Mexico, the Bahamas, western Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and Argentina. Wonderful that so many got to see it! And the images came pouring in. The ones on this page are just a taste of what we received at EarthSky Community Photos, and in our social media feeds. Thank you to all who submitted photos! What a night!

Video: Are blasts from the sun affecting YOU?

The geomagnetic storming was due to no less than five coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that left the sun that week, during a flurry of X flares. These chunks of sun material struck Earth’s magnetic field, causing the fantastic auroral display. And the solar storm continued! Read the sun news so you don’t miss a thing.

Why did the solar storms happen? The overall reason is that the sun is reaching the peak of its 11-year cycle of activity. This cycle is called Solar Cycle 25. Watch our livestream from last Monday – a conversation with EarthSky founder Deborah Byrd and NASA heliophysicist C. Alex Young – on why the sun has been blasting so many X flares.

Pink and green sky reflected in water. The pond is surrounded by plants.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Susan Jensen from Odessa, Washington, shared this image and wrote: “I waited till very near astronomical twilight to head out to one of my favorite places to shoot at night. This was taken facing due east. I love the colors boldly reflecting on the surface of the pond. For almost 2 hours I was serenaded by at least a million frogs, various water fowl and splashes of fish jumping. This night was pure bliss.” What a splendid experience, thank you!
A lake with green and blue colors reflected on the water. The sky also shows pink, not visible on the water.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Gabriela Levit at Ashokan Reservoir, New York, wrote: “Aurora borealis over the Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills, New York. Beautiful park, one of my favorite astrophotography locations. Shot this past weekend during the intense geomagnetic storm generated by sun spot AR3664. Kp9 index! The sky had a faint but noticeable green glow and I could see pillars changing roughly every 30 seconds.” Amazing! Thank you, Gabriela.
Green, purple and pink sky with a bright star at the top right, and trees at the bottom.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Andy Cooper from Wellington, UK, captured this stunning view. Thank you!
Scene with trees at the bottom, an orange horizon and a green and pink sky.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Diane Rains from Hudson, Wisconsin, shared this wonderful scene and wrote: “I have 100 photos to process now. Each one is worthy of the spotlight! Ultimately I will put them together in a timelapse animation. For now, here’s the aurora’s early appearance, bold and beautiful before the sunset had even faded to darkness.” Thank you! We can’t wait to see your timelapse.
Tall, rippling curtains of light in the sky and reflected in a lake.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Roy Trugler took this photo from Little Sebago Lake, Gray, Maine. Thank you, Roy!
View with a yellow horizon that transforms into red, and then purple. There rest of the sky is dark, and has many stars. There are a few white, short streaks.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Nancy Tompkins at Chino Valley, Arizona, wrote: “Arizona rarely gets auroras, but thanks to the Class 5 geomagnetic storm and a KP of 8 to 9 we were blessed with this rare treat.” Thank you!
Tall curtains of mostly pink and magenta light in the sky.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Julie Lanter in Claryville, Kentucky, caught the aurora and wrote: “The aurora borealis? In Kentucky? What a rare, unexpected sight!” Thank you, Julie!

More fabulous auroras

Tall, slanted curtains of light in the sky over low clouds.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Daniel Wiegert caught this view of the aurora on May 11, 2024, from Glommen, Sweden. Daniel wrote: “I have never experienced auroras toward the south at this latitude before. Most action was in the southwestern direction (and straight up).” Thank you, Daniel!
Purple sky and yellowish horizon. There is a white streak in the sky and a tree on the ground.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | William Dark from Newton County, Arkansas, took this image on May 11, 2024, and wrote: “It is one of several images on which my camera captured a meteor during a time lapse sequence. This one was my favorite. This was my 1st time to see the northern lights, and am still in awe of the event. Thanks to you folks at EarthSky for the heads up!!! Sadly, many people didn’t know what was happening until it was too late.” So glad you got to see them! Thank you for sharing your image with us.
Long streaks of pale pink and green in the sky above a housetop.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | David Hawkes in Sheffield, UK, caught the aurora on May 11, 2024. David wrote: “I had read about possible aurora tonight in the UK due to the various CMEs hitting earth and thought maybe there was a chance of seeing something. Not something I’ve witnessed before, so one off the bucket list! What a light show!” Thank you, David.

EarthSky’s team photos

Tall, slanted, rippling curtains of green and magenta light over a hilly city.
EarthSky’s Paul Scott Anderson photographed the aurora from Vancouver, Canada. Paul wrote: “I’m starting to see the auroras more easily by eye, too. Even better in iPhone night mode!” Thank you, Paul.
Streaks of purple and green light fill the sky behind scattered clouds above a dark field.
EarthSky’s Theresa Wiegert took this photo from Brockville, Canada. Thanks, Theresa!
Clouds roll across a sky streaked with a green and purple sheen over a lit neighborhood street. In the distance, lightning flashes from the clouds.
EarthSky’s Kelly Kizer Whitt captured this photo of the aurora just in front of a lightning storm in Madison, Wisconsin. Thanks, Kelly!
Sky filled with bright pink swaths and streaks above street of houses.
EarthSky’s Marcy Curran captured the aurora from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Thank you, Marcy!
Layers of purple, pink, and blue paint the sky from top to bottom over a glowing city. A few bright dots scatter across the sky.
EarthSky’s Raúl Cortés shared this image from Zacatecas, Mexico. Thanks. Raúl!

Auroras from Florida!

Europe was glowing pink

Bottom line: Auroras last night (night of May 10-11, 2024) from “extreme” geomagnetic storming – which came after a week of very high activity on the sun – wowed millions around the globe.

May 16, 2024

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