Auroral display was visible in Maryland
A blast of solar particles and magnetic energy from the sun struck the Earth Monday afternoon. The impact compressed the Earth's magnetic field on the sunward side of the planet and triggered bright displays of the aurora borealis - the Northern Lights.
The displays were visible across the U.S., as far south as New Mexico, Arkansas and North Carolina. Observers in Maryland spotted them, too, although, sadly, I was not among them.
An iReporter from Potomac, Md., named Kaidi, on spaceweather.com, said, "I saw spaceweather.com said aurora is underway and very strong. So I took my Canon 10D and went out to the deck. I can see some reddish color in the northwestern sky and aimed my camera at that direction. Each photo is exposed for 10 to 15 seconds." Here are her images.
Some observers said the display was the brightest they had ever seen. Here is a gallery of images from around the world.
If you missed the display, as I did, you can sign up for text alerts from spaceweather.com so you can catch the next ones. They are not free, as stated in an earlier version of this post. It will run you $4.95 a month. On the other hand, you wouldn't have missed last night's display.
If you saw the display last night it, drop a comment here and share the experience with the rest of us poor unfortunates. Thanks!
The geomagnetic storm was triggered by a large coronal mass ejection from the sun over the weekend. The storm is subsiding now, but it might be worth another look tonight if our skies stay clear.
(PHOTO: Shawn Malone, in Marquette, Mich. Used with permission)