As predicted, a CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on Oct. 12th. The impact at approximately 02:30 UT sparked a G2-class geomagnetic storm.
Auroras spread across northern Europe, Iceland, Canada, and multiple northern-tier US states. Here from Alaska:
In Fort McMurray, the auroras were so bright, people were able to photograph them using nothing more than a cell phone.
And as you can see in the video below, the display was dynamic, producing many curtains and pillars.
Across the border in Washington, James Davenport used an actual camera to capture this amazing show over Seattle, adding: “This was my FIRST TIME seeing the aurora borealis… wow.”
He explains in the video description: “Of course, after 2 wonderful hours, right as I was freezing cold and starting to pack up, somebody yelled “look at THAT!” and it was on again! I was stunned at how vivid and dynamic the lights were, moving 10-20deg in a matter of seconds across the sky, with some faint red and green visible to the eye.”
This is how the solar wind around Earth reacted when the CME shock passed by:
Abruptly, the solar wind speed increased by 120 km/s. At the same time, the plasma density tripled, and the temperature increased almost 10-fold.
These are signs of a classic direct hit by a CME.
The storm’s G2-category apex may be over now, but lesser G1-class storms are likely for the rest of Oct. 12th. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras.
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