Astrophotos

What a Weekend! Spectacular Aurora Photos from Around the World

“A dream come true.”
“I never expected this!”
“The most amazing light show I’ve ever seen in my life!”
“Once in a lifetime!”
“No doubt, this weekend will be remembered as ‘that weekend.’”

That’s how people described their views of the Aurora borealis this weekend, which put on a breathtaking celestial show around the world, and at lower latitudes than usual. This allowed hundreds of millions of people to see the northern lights for the first time in their lives. People as far south as Arizona and Florida in the US and France, Germany and Poland in Europe got the views of their life as a series of intense solar storms – the most powerful in more than 20 years – impacted Earth’s atmosphere starting Friday and through the weekend.

As we reported on Friday, a giant Earth-facing sunspot group named AR3664 hurled at least six coronal mass ejections our way, triggering a dazzling display of breathtaking celestial shows over several nights. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center issued a geomagnetic storm watch in anticipation of G4 or G5 events; G5 is the highest rating on NOAA’s space weather scale. This means not only was there a spectacular sky show, but some electrical grid systems could have experienced blackouts; however, there was no widespread reports of any problems or damage to electrical grids.

“Watches at this level are very rare,” the SWPC said in an advisory on Saturday.

Let’s take a look at the incredible views of our readers and friends, many shared on Universe Today’s Flickr page. Our lead image comes from Julien Looten, who took this photo at the cliffs of Étretat in northern France. Looten said, “These auroras began to be visible around 10:30 PM, even before nightfall… From then on, they were visible to the naked eye until dawn… Without interruption…”

A spectacular light show over North Cascades National Park, Washington state, USA. Credit: Patrick Vallely. Used by permission.
A 360° panorama of the May 10/11, 2024 great aurora display, as seen in southern Alberta, Canada. This is a stitch of 20 segments, each 13-second exposures, with “very odd vertical blue and magenta rays.” Credit: Alan Dyer/AmazingSky.com
A unique orange and red aurora seen over Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Karla Thompson.
Ohio’s Aurora 05-10-2024, captured in front of John Chumack’s observatory domes at JBSPO in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Canon 6DDSLR 16mm F2.8 lens, ISO 1250, 10 second exposure. Credit: John Chumack, galacticimages.com. Used by permission.
Bonkers” aurora display in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Credit: Robert Sparks. Used by permission.
Aurora over Raisting Earth Station near near Raisting, Bavaria, Germany. “We experienced three waves of incredibly strong Aurora, especially for our rather Southern latitude. During the second wave we saw individual pulsating filaments dancing over our heads. What a breathtaking experience!” Credit: Simeon Schmauß, used by permission.
The aurora as seen in the Rocky Mountains west of Denver on May10-11, 2024, taken with an iPhone. Credit: Carolyn Collins Petersen.
This timelapse from May 10-11 shows a fish-eye view of the sky in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Credit: Mark C. Petersen/Loch Ness Productions
This colorful auroral display was visible from Bishopmill, Scotland, UK on May 10, 2024. “It was capped by several beautiful coronae, the holy grail for many aurora photographers. At times, the colours were clearly visible to the unaided eye.” Credit: Alan Tough. Used by permission.
A beautiful aurora, with the International Space Station passing by, right at the zenith. Seen south of Peterborough (Keene), Ontario, with tripod mounted Canon EOS 60D and Bower 8mm prime lens with ISO 800 and 10 seconds. “It doesn’t get much better than this, the best display here in 15 years at least!” Credit: Rick Stankiewicz, Peterborough Astronomical Association (PAA).
Aurora on May 10/11 2024, taken from Ottawa, Canada with an iPhone 14 Pro Max. Credit: Andrew Symes. Used by permission.
Aurora Borealis on May 10, 2024 From British Columbia, Canada. Credit: Debra Ceravolo. Used by permission.
“The moment when the Great Aurora of 2024 went from looking average to exploding and filling the entire sky. Until that moment, it looked cool, but nothing I hadn’t seen from this location before. The curious part was it was in the western sky instead of the north when I normally see it. But in this moment, the entirity of the visible sky lit up in the most amazing light show I’ve ever seen in my life. Credit: Dark Arts Astrophotography. Used by permission.
Unique view of the KP9 aurora on May 11, 2024 at Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. Credit: Northern Lights Graffiti. Used by permission
Aurora and the Moon seen over central Minnesota, USA. Credit: Nancy Atkinson
Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

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