The anticipated geomagnetic storm caused by Monday’s M8.7 solar flare and Tuesday’s coronal mass ejection (CME) impact is over. The aurora watch has been cancelled today for all but the highest latitudes around the Arctic Circle but a dazzling display of auroras did lit up the far northern skies in a supercharged light show.
Even experienced stargazers were stunned by the intensity of the aurora borealis that swept across the night sky in northern Scandinavia after the biggest solar flare in six years. "It has been absolutely incredible," British astronomer John Mason cried from the deck of the MS Midnatsol, a cruise ship plying the fjord-fringed coast of northern Norway.
There are reports of spectacular displays of the aurora seen at high latitudes in Europe. Reporting for Associated Press, Karl Ritter and Seth Borenstein say that “experienced stargazers were stunned by the intensity of the aurora borealis that swept across the night sky in northern Scandinavia” during the night of January 24, 2012.
"It was the biggest northern lights I've seen in the five-six years that I've worked here," said Andreas Hermansson, a tour guide at the Ice Hotel in the Swedish town of Jukkasjarvi, above the Arctic Circle.
Coronal aurora over Fairbanks, Alaska (January 22, 2012)
- View SpaceWeather's January 2012 aurora gallery here.
Featured photo credit: Jaromir Stanczyk