Spotless Sun Sparks Bright Auroras

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Above: On Oct. 12, 2017, the sky above Tromsø, Norway, exploded in a spray of geomagnetic light. Colin Palmer photographed these bright green auroras from the island of Kvaloya. More images may be found in the Realtime Aurora Photo Gallery.

The sun is sliding into a deep Solar Minimum that continues to defy some expectations. For much of the past week, the sun was absolutely blank–no sunspots–and solar activity was deemed “very low.”

Nevertheless, space weather was stormy. From Oct. 11th through 15th, not a single day went by without a geomagnetic storm. Bright auroras were sighted not only around the poles, but also in a number of US states.

The reason for these counterintuitive space storms is explained on today’s edition of Spaceweather.com–along with expectations for more in the days ahead.

 

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