News & Events

(From 1999 to 2001)


*The Exploratorium's Auroras 2000: For the latest aurora reports and up-to-the-minute ultraviolet images from the Polar spacecraft.  The Exploratorium and SECEF  (
4/17/01 Shock Wave Triggers Aurora: An interplanetary shock wave struck Earth's magnetosphere as night fell across the Americas on Tuesday.  Sky watchers located in Northern Europe, Canada, and across the northern tier of US states could spot auroras Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.  The shock wave was generated by a powerful solar explosion on Easter Sunday.  
4/13/01 Aurora Alert:  An interplanetary shock wave struck Earth's magnetosphere early on Friday the 13th and triggered a strong geomagnetic storm.  Forecasters anticipate that a second shock wave will arrive later Friday or Saturday,  possibly intensifying the ongoing disturbance.  Middle-lattitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras after local sunset.
4/11/01 Aurora Gallery:  A pair of coronal mass ejections that hit Earth's magnetosphere on April 11th sparked an intense display of auroras.  Sky watchers in the United States saw "Northern Lights" as far south as the New Mexico-Texas border.  Check out the aurora gallery at   for more than 50 images of the storm.
3/31/01 Sun Storms From Largest Sunspot in Ten Years Light Up Earth's Auroras:  A powerful geomagnetic storm raged for more than 24 hours this weekend,  dazzling sky watchers who saw aurora borealis as far south as Mexico.  The storm began at 0100 UT on March 31st (8pm EST on March 30th) when a coronal mass ejection struck Earth's magnetosphere.  The leading edge of the CME was dense (150 protons/cm3) and strongly magnetized - traits that can (and did) give rise to intense auroras.  Weekend aurora gallery available at
1/22/01 Aurora Watch:  A sunspot group that appeared over the Sun's eastern limb just a few days ago unleashed a strong solar flare and a full-halo coronal mass ejection on Saturday.  Geomagnetic activity will likely begin late Monday or Tuesday when the expanding cloud of solar material reaches our planet.  Sky watchers,  especially ones at high latitudes,  should be alert for auroras.
12/14/00 Satellite Footprints Seen in Jupiter Aurora:  The Hubble telescope recorded the "footprints" of three of Jupiter's largest moons (Io, Ganymede,  and Europa) in the planet's aurora.  
10/25/00 This morning a full halo coronal mass ejection sped away from the Sun faster than 620 km/s.  The leading edge of a solar wind shock wave could arrive in the neighborhood of Earth later this week and possibly trigger auroras.  (Gif
9/25/00    A solar coronal mass ejection that left the Sun on Sept. 25 could strike Earth's magnetosphere on Wednesday and trigger mid-latitude aurora.  The timing is good because the Moon will reach its new phase on Sept. 27th,  affording dark skies for aurora watchers.  
9/17/00 No fewer than 3 coronal mass ejections appear to be heading toward Earth following solar eruptions on Friday and Saturday.  The CME's could trigger aurora at middle-latitudes when they arrive during the next few days.  We invite aspiring aurora photographers to visit our online aurora gallery,  which includes photo settings that worked well during the geomagnetic storm of August 12, 2000.
7/13/00 Stargazers in both hemispheres are advised to watch for auroras tonight as the result of a stong solar wind disturbance that struck Earth's magnetosphere at approxamately 0940 UT (5:40 a.m. EDT) on July 13th.  The strong geomagnetic storm that started this morning may now be subsiding but another inteplanetary shock wave is expected to arrive on July 14th and extend the current period of geomagnetic unrest.  Auroral displays at middle latitudes are possible (but by no means guaranteed) around local midnight on July 13th through the 15th.  


  Solar Storm Triggers Aurora - This morning an interplanetary shock wave hit Earth's magnetosphere triggering aurora over some parts of our planet by a series of powerful eruptions on the Sun which included a full-halo coronal mass ejection on June 6. (
6/1/00 Scientists: Earthly, Not Solar, Particles Create Auroras - The northern and southern lights are caused by a gigantic,  magnetic wrestling match that unleashes not solar,  but earthly particles,  to create brilliant night displays,  scientists said Thursday.  (
5/9/00 Solar Ups and Downs - It was a rare sight so near the Solar Maximum,  but the Sun was nearly featureless on May 7, 2000. (


Brushfires in the Sky - Stargazers around the globe were treated to an unexpected and rare display of red-colored aurora on April 6-7, 2000.  NASA Space Science News  (
4/7/00   Geomagnetic Storm - An interplanetary shock wave hit Earth's magnetosphere on April 6, 2000,  triggering a major geomagnetic storm and dazzling displays of aurorae.  (
4/7/00 Skywatchers Marvel at Light Show - Skies across Europe and North America have been lit up with a spectacular display of the Northern Lights.  BBC News  (
  3/2/00 Polar Substorm - Last week,  NASA's Polar satellite spotted a geomagnetic storm triggered by a gust of solar wind.  NASA Space Science News  (
2/23/00 A Coronal Hole Targets Earth - High speed solar wind particles from a large coronal hole are buffeting Earth's magnetosphere.  NASA Space Science News  (
2/21/00 Interplanetary Shock Wave Passes Earth - A wave of plasma and magnetic fields from a February 17 coronal mass ejection passed Earth on February 20, 2000.  Geomagnetic activity is up,  but this event may not cause significant aurora.  NASA Space Science News  (


Web-Based data display system developed - View latest auroral images,  movies, and join the chat forum.  (
12/14/99 FAST Spacecraft Discovers Invisible Aurora - Goddard Space Flight Center Press Release  (  


The Warp and Woof of a Geomagnetic Storm - NASA Space Science News  (  


FAST Lithograph Developed at the Center for Science Education (  


Aurora Alert - A blast of solar wind from the sun on October 21 is creating strong geomagnetic storm conditions a day later...  NASA Space Science News  (  


Solar Cycle Update - Updated predictions from NASA scientists place the solar maximum in mid-2000. NASA Space Science News   (  



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