It’s safe to say the Sun has been incredibly active the last few weeks. On February 24 and 25, the Sun spit out two CMEs sequentially straight in our direction. The first, expected to hit Earth’s magnetosphere on February 27, arrived a few hours early, sparking a G3 geomagnetic storm early in the evening of February 26.
In Fairbanks, the aurora was out as soon as darkness set. Shortly before 10 pm, a band that had slowly crept from the northern to southern sky erupted in light and color. The brightest moments were shortlived, momentarily brightening while the colors danced across the sky before fading, then erupting again and again.
The aurora was also seen in the lower 48, with reports as far south as New Jersey (although barely visible). Locations in France, Oregon, and Pennsylvania all had red skies last night! As of this writing, the current planetary K-index is Kp=7 which will be excellent for seeing the aurora further south if this persists.
The second CME will likely arrive soon (if it hasn’t already) and contribute to the ongoing geomagnetic disturbance. This means there is a great likelihood of good aurora for the next two nights. If you live in Canada, the northern US, or Europe and have clear skies, staying up late the next couple of nights might be worthwhile. I highly suggest following the Aurora Borealis Notifications group (Twitter) (Facebook) to see when and where the aurora is being spotted.
Much of the Alaska interior is supposed to have clear skies tonight but cloudy and snowy starting tomorrow afternoon. I’m planning on this being a late night for me. Although, many times with storms like this, the aurora kind of overshoots us, and all the fun stuff is further south while we have a diffuse sky. But that’s not always the case. I’m keeping my hopes up!
You can see my full gallery from last night here: February 26, 2023
Below are some of my articles on the aurora and how to photograph it.