The current forecast for tonight, March 11/12 is a high Kp level of 3. However, we are still seeing the effects of last night and the data is looking mostly good aside from a “stuck” northward Bz. This means that although we may see continued Kp 3 (as forecast) or higher (like early this morning but unlikely as the storm is waning), the aurora may not be brightly seen until the data changes just a bit. In other words—-Wait and be patient. Auroras come out any time of day, but we see them when it is dark. So, anytime it is dark is when you should start looking for them. A question often asked is “What is the BEST time?”. If you do not like my answer of anytime it is dark, then the next best answer would be, in the middle of the night. Patience is key to waiting for auroras to appear. Sometimes we do get lucky like last night, and we see lights all night long.
Thursday night into Friday morning Alaska time, we had the usual low but fluctuating Kp levels. But things appeared to be looking up (ha) as the data was pretty good; the solar winds and density and Bz were just right and sparked a nice show that lasted all night long. The entire state saw the lights (where the weather was clear) and the Kp level spiked at Kp 6. Not too many reports from further south, as the sun was rising when the Kp was high enough to really be seen down there. Wisconsin reported a glow on the horizon, but most folks either gave up since it was very late, or very early in the morning, depending on how you look at it. This is part of why we love the aurora so much. The surprise.
From the time the sunset, all the way to sunrise, the aurora was seen across the state: