Cannibal CME Sparks Low Latitude Auroras

Nov. 4, 2021: Auroras in California? Believe it. On Nov. 4th, the glow of a strong (G3) geomagnetic storm spread almost to Los Angeles. Aurora chaser Hongming Zheng took this picture just outside Lincoln CA at latitude +39N:

“This was my southernmost aurora sighting yet!” says Zheng. “A red glow and occasional pillars were visible to the naked eye. I was very pleasantly surprised with this unexpectedly strong geomagnetic storm.”

More reds appeared in Joshua Tree, California (+34N). “I could not see them with my naked eye,” says veteran observer Don Davis, “but my camera recorded these rare SoCal auroras.”

The CME that sparked the display was a special “Cannibal CME“–that is, a mashup of multiple solar storm clouds striking Earth all at once. Cannibal CMEs contain tangled magnetic fields and compressed plasmas that often do a good job sparking auroras.

At the apex of the storm, auroras appeared in New Mexico and Colorado as well–far below the latitudes where they usually appear.

In Abisko, Sweden, the auroras were so bright they could be seen at sunrise:

“I almost slept through the storm,” confesses photographer Oliver Wright. “I woke up just after 5am and I could see auroras through my bedroom window. So quick coffee and headed down to the bridge over the Abisko canyon. I was watching purple auroras getting washed out by the nautical sunrise. I’ve only ever seen that once before during the Saint Patrick Day geomagnetic storm of 2015.”

more aurora images:from Marianne Bergli of Tromsø, Norway; from Marybeth Kiczenski of Bayfield, Wisconsin; from Markus Varik of Tromsø, Norway; from Chris Cook of Cape Cod, Massachusetts; from Greg Ash of Duluth Minnesota; from Genevieve of Greenwood, Maine; from Thomas Spence of Tofte, Minnnesota; from Shelley Johnson of Anacortes, Washington

One thought on “Cannibal CME Sparks Low Latitude Auroras

  1. Gracias Tony… así como vamos las veremos en zonas tropicales y ecuatoriales, y en ese momento algo más debería ocurrir… un campo unificado? XD.


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