Monday Night Lights: October Aurorae Surprise Skywatchers

Aurora over Chesterfield, Michigan on Oct. 24, 2011. © Bob Trembley

Powerful geomagnetic activity created colorful aurorae that delighted skywatchers around the world on the night of Monday, October 24. The photo above was taken by LITD fan Bob Trembley from his location in Chesterfield, Michigan with his Canon EOS Rebel XS.

“I can NOT believe I got these shots!” Bob writes on his Facebook page. “I drove 800 meters from my home, where there were less streetlights. When I started taking shots, there was some green fuzz on the horizon. Then a GIANT red splotch to the east. Then red spikes doming overhead. It was easily one of the best displays I have ever seen, and I was privileged to get these shots.”

Aurorae were visible as far south as Oklahoma and North Carolina, and even some reports of visibility from remote locations in north Texas. (View more user-submitted images on

A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth on Oct. 24th at approximately 1800 UT (2:00 pm EDT). The impact strongly compressed Earth’s magnetic field, directly exposing geosynchronous satellites to solar wind plasma, and sparked an intense geomagnetic storm. (Description via

Aurora over Chesterfield, Michigan. © Bob Trembley

Great photos Bob! Thanks for the usage. If anyone else has any images, feel free to share them on my Facebook page wall here.

Images © Bob Trembley. Used with permission.

Update: here’s a short time-lapse video of last night’s auroral activity over East Michigan (tip o’ the geomagnetic hat again to Bob T!):

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