A coronal mass ejection or CME struck Earth’s magnetic field last night (September 30, 2012). According to the website Spaceweather.com, the impact was weak at first, but by the early morning hours of October 1 (according to U.S. clocks), moderately strong geomagnetic storms were underway. They are now subsiding, apparently. EarthSky Facebook friend Colin Chatfield in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan captured the photo below of last night’s aurora, caused by the storm in Earth’s magnetic field.
Spaceweather.com reported that the aurora, or northern lights, descended as far south in the United States as Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, Montana, Minnesota, Washington, Idaho, Illinois and South Dakota. Even California experienced some auroras.
Bottom line: A coronal mass ejection, or CME, from the sun caused Earth to experience a geomagnetic storm in the early morning hours of October 1, 2012.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.