Solar storms rank on scales much like hurricanes – minor category 1 – extreme category 5. Last night, predictions of geomagnetic energy from uppity sunspot AR2297 delivered a severe category 4 wallop to expectant sky watchers. A remarkable 8 on the KP index(scale measuring magnetic strength), this storm rates as one of the most powerful in a decade.
I’ve spent 35 years in Vancouver, only once before have Auroras graced my fair city. Storms of this magnitude often disrupt GPS, cell phones and power grids – despite an unexpected magnitude, so far this storm chooses to spare disruption in favour of pizazz.
Indications point to weakening presence, yet science has no idea when it will fizzle. NOAA gives “a strong possibility” auroras may be viewed early this morning as far south as Tennessee and Oklahoma.
If this ponder finds you awake under clear skies – find a dark corner and gaze at the sky. Aurora just might find you.
Image – Matt Melnyk, Calgary Alberta
Image taken by Ellen Monteith at 2:30 am March 16, Barriere B.C.
I may lose my mind – this image taken last night in Vancouver
Image – Notanee Bourassa, Regina Saskatchewan