The sun got into the Saint Patrick’s Day act by hurling a coronal mass ejection (CME) straight at Mother Earth a couple of days earlier. It hurtled toward us at 900 miles per second, according to NASA, and when it slammed into the magnetosphere, the explosion was green.
The impact caused a moderate geomagnetic storm that sent Kelly-green northern lights flashing and dancing all the way south to Colorado, Spaceweather.com reported. Turtle Island’s photographers were ready.
“The aurora kicked in after midnight and continued until dawn with reasonably clear skies through most of it with the exception of about an hour of clouds,” wrote Rocky Babell of Keller, Washington, on Komonews.com. “This is the first time I've actually been able to see the light reflected off of the water. The weather guy came through.”
In Colorado the spectacle appeared in the early morning.
"Just after 4 a.m. local time, the skies turned green and red behind the twin stone monoliths of Rabbit Ears Peak near Steamboat Springs, Colorado," wrote photographer and astronomy professor Jimmy Westlake to Spaceweather.com.
The aurora borealis also appeared as far south as New York State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Michigan and the Dakotas, Spaceweather.com reported.
“The show's not over,” Spaceweather.com said. “Geomagnetic storming is under way as Earth passes through the wake of the CME. High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras."