Vivid northern lights dazzle Europe; Clouds limit MN viewing

A powerful CME struck earth as expected Tuesday morning around 9 am local time.

The resulting “solar shockwind” was measured by instruments in Norway.

(Images from

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Rob Stammes

Jan. 24, 2012

Location: Laukvik Lofoten Norway.


“The expected solarwind cloud arrived on my instruments at 15.10 UTC today jan.24.A fantastic shockwave followed by a magnetic storm. Maybe a happy day for many aurora watchers.”

The storm triggered a dazzling display of northern lights in Scandinavia.

9 aur 1.jpg

Antti Pietikäinen

Jan. 24, 2012

Location: Muonio, Lapland, Finland


“We went out with snowmobiles to wait for the incoming storm in Muonio, West-Lapland, Finland. Show started slowly and after 15mins the landscape was green! This was the first time for Thomas to see the northern lights. And he was very happy.”

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Hinrich Baesemann

Jan. 24, 2011

Location: Tromso, northern Norway


“Expecting the arrival of the shockwave from the solar wind I was out on the coast of Tromso. The nice eddz apperared at about 18:30 UT, not as much as I expected, but I liked it.”

The solar storm may produce northern lights tonight over Minnesota and northern North America, but viewing may be limited by clouds. As warmer air pushes in from the Pacific, there may also be a few snow showers overnight into early Wednesday.

There are some holes in the overcast over northern Minnesota, the Dakotas and northern Wisconsin. Viewers in those areas may catch a glimpse of the show if it kicks in.

Some viewing tips from if you’re lucky enough to get a clear spot.

CME IMPACT: “As expected, a CME hit Earth’s magnetic field on Jan. 24th at approximately 1500 UT (10 am EST). A G1-class geomagnetic storm is in progress now, producing bright auroras around the Arctic Circle. Sky watchers in Canada, Alaska, and states along the US-Canadian border should be alert for Northern Lights after nightfall. Tip: The hours around local midnight are often best for aurora sightings. Aurora alerts: text, voice.”

Happy hunting!


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