Categories: Aurora

Powerful Magnetic Storm Produces Beautiful Aurora Around the World

The strong geomagetic storm surprised early risers yesterday on St. Patrick’s Day with a spectacular display of the northern lights, ended up with staying power. According to, a fast-moving CME hit Earth’s magnetic field that at first had little effect. But as Earth moved into the CME’s strongly-magnetized wake, the storm intensified until it became a G4-class event. “For more than 9 hours, it was the strongest geomagnetic storm of the current solar cycle,” and the glow of aurora was seen around the world — in the northern hemisphere, anyway — farther south than usual, such as in Kanasa and Virginia in the US and in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Hampshire in the UK.

Speaking of ‘around the world,’ astronaut Terry Virts took the Vine video above, from the International Space Station.

Below are more aurora images from Universe Today readers:

Powerful Aurora Borealis from March 18, 2015.Photographed in Saaremaa, Estonia. Credit and copyright: Marko Palm.
Aurora on St. Patrick’s Day night, seen west of Keene, Ontario, Canada at about 10:00 p.m. EDST. Credit and copyright: Rick Stankiewicz
Aurora borealis as seen from Leek in Staffordshire, England on March 17, 2015. Credit and copyright: Gareth Harding.
90 Minute Aurora Star Trails as seen from the UK on March 17, 2015. Credit and copyright: Mary Spicer.

The team from the Slooh telescope had a special broadcast last night from Iceland to showcase the aurora, and the skies were alive with brilliant, green aurora. Here is a highlight, showcasing some of the incredible moments:

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

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