Earth is beginning to exit a stream of solar wind flowing from a large hole in the sun’s atmosphere. As a result, NOAA forecasters have lowered the odds of a geomagnetic storm today to only 35%. Arctic sky watchers should nevertheless remain alert for midnight auroras on Feb 3-4 as the solar wind speed is still near 600 km/s. Free: Aurora alerts.
When the solar wind stream first arrived on Jan. 31-Feb. 1, it delivered a blow to Earth’s magnetic field that sparked locally intense lights around the poles. M-P Markkanen observed this outburst over Lemmenjoki National Park in the Lapland of Finland:
“It was a mind blowing spectacle!” says Markkanen. “All night long, the sky was a showcase of aurora forms and colors — green, red, pink, purple, white, arcs, curtains, coronas, pulsing, and at times the whole sky was just glowing green from north to south.”