Strongest geomagnetic storm of solar cycle 24

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 - 16:28 UTC

Strongest geomagnetic storm of solar cycle 24

17 March 2015 - The St. Patrick's Day 2015 Geomagnetic Storm. That is the date that will be remembered by many people all around the world who witnessed one of the most intense auroral displays in years. What looked like a fairly average coronal mass ejection from only a C9 (!) solar flare that would give us a glancing blow and spark at most a minor G1 geomagnetic storm actually caused the strongest geomagnetic storm of solar cycle 24. Three periods were recorded yesterday where the severe G4 geomagnetic storm threshold was reached. The Dst or disturbance storm time index (which just like the Kp-index is a way to record the severity of a geomagnetic storm) reached -228 during the peak of the storm close to midnight UTC and means this storm was actually much stronger than the second strongest geomagnetic storm of solar cycle 24 that reached -147nT on 25 October 2011. We thus witnessed a unique event! Tech talk aside: a geomagnetic storm of this size gave many people around the world the chance to see the magical polar lights and capture them with their own cameras. We have been overwhelmed by all of your images that we got in our inbox. Thank you very much! Keep on reading for a selection of the most amazing images that we received of what truly was one of the best geomagnetic storms in years.


Aurora Australis and Uluru Timelapse from Emma Blythman on Vimeo.

Blackpaw Photography (South Arm, Tasmania)


Francis Audet (Tewksbury, Quebec)

Francis Audet (Tewksbury, Quebec)

Francis Audet (Tewksbury, Quebec)


Boris Stromar (Zagreb)


Seppo Vatanen (Kuopio)

Pauli Petteri Purtilo - Kuvia ja mielikuvia (southern Finland)


Sigurður William Photography

Icelandic Photos by HPH


Dennis Hessberger (Parin)

Veronica Orrù (Hooksiel)

The Netherlands

Karin Broekhuijsen (De Kiel, Drenthe)

Wil Benus (Terschelling)

Ricardo (Hank)

Vincent van Leijen (Friesland)

Jan Slijkhuis (Nijverdal, Overijssel)

Ide Geert Koffeman (Flevoland)

New Zealand

Ian Griffin (Brighton Otago)

Joel Ryan (Southland)

Eddie Griffiths (Invercargill)

Eddie Griffiths (Invercargill)

Northern Ireland

Noel Blaney (Bangor)


Sonia Thorlin (Ålesund)

Sonia Thorlin (Ålesund)

Sonia Thorlin (Ålesund)

Nico Rhyner (Rondane National Park)


Robert Migas (near Warsaw)

Michał Kałużny

Waldemar Lewandowski


Carl Bergstrand (Visby)

Hampus Kuru (Västerås)

Hampus Kuru (Västerås)

Björn Joelsson (Örebro)

Svante Sandström (Västerlanda)

United Kingdom

Mark Ferrier (Balnakeil Beach Durness, Scotland)

Mark Ferrier (Balnakeil Beach Durness, Scotland) 

Maciej Winiarczyk (Scotland)

Graham Telford (Durness, Scotland)

Gary Pescod Photography (Derwent Reservoir)

Andy Walker (Scotland)

Andy Walker (Scotland)

Steve Clasper Photography (Northumberland)

Ailsa Newton (Isle of Skye)

Alan Leightley (Sycamore Gap, Hadrians Wall, Northumberland)

United States

Lorraine M. Photography (Wisconsin)

Jeremy Gilchrist (South Hero, VT)

Mike Hollingshead (Iowa)

Jimmy ßrännström‎ (Black Earth, Wisconsin)

Aurora 03-17-15 V1 720p from pete mauney on Vimeo. (Hudson Valley of New York)

Jacob Jones (Sparta, WI)

Vaughn Johnson Photography (Kenai, Alaska)

Current data suggest that it is not possible to see aurora now at middle latitudes
The solar wind speed is currently moderately high (565.4 km/sec.)

Latest news

Today's space weather

Auroral activity Minor Severe
High latitude 20% 20%
Middle latitude 5% 1%
Predicted Kp max 3
Solar activity
M-class solar flare 1%
X-class solar flare 1%
Moon phase
Waning Crescent


A lot of people come to SpaceWeatherLive to follow the Sun's activity or if there is aurora to be seen, but with more traffic comes higher server costs. Consider a donation if you enjoy SpaceWeatherLive so we can keep the website online!


Get instant alerts!

Space weather facts

Last X-flare:2015/05/05X2.7
Last M-flare:2017/04/03M5.8
Last geomagnetic storm:2017/04/23Kp6 (G2)
Number of spotless days in 2017:37
Last spotless day:2017/05/15

This day in history*

Solar flares
*since 1994