G3 Aurora Near Autumnal Equinox

A coronal hole detected a few days ago showed up big: I’m actually still outside as I type this, in case the aurora decides to act up again! Tonight I saw the brightest sub-storm I’ve seen yet…from my deck! Before 10:30 PM I noticed a sub-storm brewing, which is a big deal if I can see it from my apartment. I could actually see structure and movement so I went out to my favorite dark sky spot. It’s always a tense drive if I wait until after there’s activity to get out of the city lights, but just even seeing a diffuse glow in the night sky that’s not the moon is thrilling along the way. Even so, once I got onto scenic north shore drive, I could see patches even while driving. Once I got to my spot, I could clearly see the homogeneous patches pulsating and moving. At that time, the aurora filled up about half of the northern sky with the “racing clouds” phenomenon.

I got to my spot just after 11 PM and for the first time saw “Steve” just west of the aurora. I stayed out until sometime after midnight, submitting a live Aurorasaurus report with my best photo at the time from the “Slow Shutter” app. Getting sleepy and cold, and since it was a work night (turned morning), I decided to head back home. I looked out my bedroom window to take a last gaze, and noticed it was quite bright! Then, I saw double homogeneous arcs start to form from the glow, so I grabbed my warm folding chair and rushed out to my deck (I’m lucky to be on the top floor and thus above the street lights). The arcs “broke up” into the colorful dancing ribbon, and I gasped as well as kicked myself for leaving my dark sky spot! I couldn’t believe how visible it was even from my apartment. After the band dissipated, I noticed those spiky, trapezoidal rays to the northeast, though this time from my vantage they were not as bright nor colorful. I watched the flaming phenomenon for awhile filling up the whole sky to the zenith from my vantage. The real clouds are now chasing me inside which is probably a blessing for my sleep, but also a tease as I can see the lights getting bright behind the clouds again! Once more, seeing that brightness behind the clouds which would usually be a full moon is a thrill in itself.

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