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)

Any mentioned solar flare in this article has a scaling factor applied by the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the reported solar flares are 42% smaller than for the science quality data. The scaling factor has been removed from our archived solar flare data to reflect the true physical units.

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