As a swift solar wind bombarded the Earth’s magnetic field Wednesday night, spectacular aurora danced in the skies at high latitudes.
The aurora were mostly seen at high latitudes, although one eyewitness captured the phenomenon in rural southwest Virginia (Botetourt County)!
“The aurora was bright because this coronal hole had really fast solar wind flowing through it, almost 2 million mph,” said Joe Kunches, Capital Weather Gang’s space weather expert. “Plus it was of a magnetic polarity — positive — that is particularly geoeffective around the fall equinox.”
The lights were viewed from the International Space Station, where astronaut Scott Kelly beamed this image back to Earth:
On the wild side, a photographer in Norway videotaped whales roaming in the seas under the northern lights earlier this week, when solar activity was also elevated:
(Video hat tip: Andrew Freedman @Mashable)
High latitude auroras may appear again this evening as the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center calls for an 80 percent chance of polar geomagnetic storms.
Below, find more pictures of the aurora Wednesday night from both hemispheres, obtained from SpaceWeather.com’s wonderful aurora gallery and from Twitter: