Thursday December 10 2020

The solar flare and Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) on Monday was strong and prompted a Geomagnetic Storm Watch through Friday.  The initial ‘shock’ was observed last night. This was close to the expected time, but less intense.  Considering 3-D space, the bulk of the energy passed south of Earth.

If you think tracking a snow storm in the Mid Atlantic is difficult, predicting a CME in space and the visual display on Earth is even harder.

Planetary K index

The Kp index was a 4, but a 7 or high was what was predicted and needed for the Northern Lights to reach farther south.


December 10 space weather K Index



Aurora Borealis Captured

An aurora was witnessed overnight in Iceland, but it was brief as noted by Sophie Carr



Offical Statement from the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

“Shock was observed by DSCOVR at 10/0132 UTC. It is believed this shock in the IMF was produced by the 07 Dec CME. Total field reached 16 nT while wind speeds topped out near 571 km/s, producing a period of active geomagnetic conditions. The G3 (Strong) and G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storming  watches for 10 and 11 Dec, respectively, remain in place at this time. However, confidence in storming reaching those levels is diminishing. “

December 10 Space Weather Shock Observed



Aurora Forecast Tonight

This is just after midnight. Please note the highlighted region in green is the lights are possible. If verified, it would be visible farther south.

December 10 Aurora Forecast North America



Can We See This?

There is still a Geomagnetic Storm Watch for the Northern Lights, but as noted by SWPC, the odds are diminishing.  The wake of the CME will still produce some lights, but the intensity to be carried farther south has not been shown yet.

Instead of the Pennsylvania/Maryland border, the ‘edge’ zone is more likely across the Pennsylvania and New York border.  In the image below, the chances increase north of the yellow line.

December 10 aurora visible


My Take:

Tonight is the start of Hanukkah, which for those celebrating is the Festival of Lights. It would be nice to have a rare treat of the northern lights reaching more in mid latitudes.

At this point, we should see images online, but maybe not outside (Mid Atlantic). I will keep monitoring. However, the clear sky will still provide a great view of Jupiter and Saturn approaching The Great Conjunction. In a few days, we start a big meteor shower as well.


Here’s more on the sky shows ahead

December Climate, Sun Data, Solstice, ISS Flyovers, Moon, Planets, and The Great Conjunction

Winter Solstice noon sun Baltimore



NASA Video: Space Weather and Earth’s Aurora





Also See:


Winter Outlook Series

Winter Outlook 2021 Tropical Hints

Winter Outlook Polar Vortex Arctic Oscillation

Winter Outlook Solar Minimum

Early Winter October

Winter Outlook Series Weather Folklore


Winter Outlook 2021 La Nina Advisory

Winter Outlooks Farmers Almanacs



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