Aurora watchers thankful for spectacular show

Photographer Geoffrey McGill sent this picture to the University of Alberta’s AuroraWatch researchers. McGill took pictures of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, on the night of Oct. 8.

What you are seeing is a geomagnetic storm that followed the impact of a coronal mass ejection from the sun. The greater the intensity of the space storm, the better the chance of viewing the aurora. This geomagnetic storm was raging for two days, producing a brilliant display of the aurora.

AuroraWatch provides a real-time monitor of geomagnetic activity in the Edmonton area, and offers an alert service when there is a high probability of seeing aurora. The monitor peaked during the evening of Oct. 8, showing a higher than 95% chance of visible aurora activity at one point—and McGill was one of several photographers who took advantage of the opportunity to get outdoors and capture the event during the Thanksgiving weekend.

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