October 2008
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Summary: No geomagnetic storm was predicted for Oct. 19-20, but one happened anyway. The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth tipped south, opening a crack in our planet's magnetic defenses against the solar wind. Solar wind poured in and fueled a beautiful Scandinavian display. See also September 2008.

  Photographer, Location Images Comments

New Urengoy JANAO Russia
Oct. 20, 2008
#1, #2, #3, #4, more

Photo details: Canon EOS-400D

Thomas Hagen,
Oct. 20, 2008
#1, #2, #3

The clouds cleared just in time for some heavy aurora activity. Greatest show on earth!

Sauli Koski,
Muonio Finland
Oct. 19, 2008
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Good, beautiful auroras and a half moon gave extra light.

Photo details: Nikon D3, 14-24 nikon lens f2,8 1600 asa about 6sec

Claus Vogel,
Pangnirtung, Nunavut (Baffin Island), Canada
Oct. 15, 2008
#1, #2, #3, more

No solar wind? No problem. The skies over Baffin Island, Canada, can turn green even without a geomagnetic storm. These auroras appeared during a period of "quiet" on Oct. 15th. "Last night, bathed in the glow of a full moon, the northern lights danced over Pangnirtung Fjord," reports photographer Claus Vogel. "It was a stellar night for shooting the aurora with my Nikon D700."

The display was sparked by nothing special. Baffin Island lies under Earth's auroral oval, a lopsided ring of light encircling the North Pole. Around the oval, Earth's magnetic field funnels electrically-charged particles from space into the upper atmosphere where the flurry of tiny impacts causes the air to glow green--no geomagnetic storm required.

more images: from MaryLou Graham onboard the National Geographic Explorer crossing the Davis Strait between Greenland and Baffin Island; from Claus Vogel of Pangnirtung, Baffin Island; from Christian Praetorius of Bifröst, Iceland; from Roland Mathijssen of Hillesøya / Sommarøy, Troms, Norway