A Weak Geomagnetic Storm Is Underway
A disturbance in our planet’s magnetic environment, caused by the impact of a coronal mass ejection (CME) from Active Region 1520 on the Sun, is causing the appearance of aurorae right now. The activity is indicated in the above plot of the K index, a measure of the condition of geomagnetic field. The red bars show that the disturbance is causing the field to change rapidly, which often leads to displays of aurorae.
However, this event was a little weaker than it could have been due to the glancing blow that the CME struck yesterday, so the only observations of aurorae are at high latitudes (above about 60º). However, a few observers at lower latitudes saw the lights last night, such as Brad Goldpaint who captured this image of auroras reflecting from Sparks Lake in central Oregon:
(Credit & copyright: Brad Goldpaint, courtesy of Spaceweather.com)
There are no strong active regions heading onto the solar disk now, so we’re out of the woods for a while.