Monday, October 24, 2011

Northern Lights seen in Potomac, MD!

Via Space Weather:
AURORAS IN THE USA--NOW! Northern Lights have spilled across the Canadian border into the contiguous USA. Observers report auroras as far south as Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio and central California. The display was caused by the CME impact described below.
CME IMPACT: A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 24th at approximately 1800 UT (02:00 pm EDT). Acording to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the impact caused a strong compression of Earth's magnetic field, allowing solar wind to penetrate all the way down to geosynchronous orbit for a brief period between 19:06 UT and 19:11 UT. Earth-orbiting spacecraft could have been directly exposed to solar wind plasma during that time. The impact also sparked a geomagnetic storm, underway now.
I looked out at about 11:15 EST but didn't see anything.Were they only visible shortly after sunset? Update:  Looking out tonight, the sky is clearly darker than last night.  Although the Northern Lights weren't clearly discernible, their effects were visible!