West Seattle sky-watch updates: ‘Northern Lights’ a local no-show

(Embed removed for technical difficulties – see map here)

Our “Skies Over West Seattle” correspondent Alice Enevoldsen says tonight brings the best chance in years of aurorae – “Northern Lights” – in our area, so now that it’s dark, we’re starting a sky watch. Above, a map Alice made overnight with suggested West Seattle-area viewing spots, if you can’t just hit the road and drive away from the city.

9:04 PM: From Alice via Twitter:

9:30 PM: Tweeted by Patrick:

10:41 PM: Hope is fading, Alice tweets:

We’ll be watching for a while longer, just in case.

12:58 AM: No miraculous appearance, so far as we can tell, combing Twitter (and elsewhere) for reports, and checking comments. (Alice tweeted about an hour ago that she’d seen some meteors, though. A clear sky always has SOMETHING worth watching.)

5:32 AM: We’ve been up all night but no sign of major Northern Lights (as commenters from all over the region were saying, too). Maybe tonight? We’ll be watching, again.

63 Replies to "West Seattle sky-watch updates: 'Northern Lights' a local no-show"

  • Trileigh September 12, 2014 (8:51 pm)

    Oh good, thanks for the new post! I’m hoping Alice and others will update here if you see the aurora from WS. Conditions seem to be as good as they’ll ever get…

    • WSB September 12, 2014 (9:00 pm)

      I’m also watching social media, etc., at least here in the early going while stuck at home for a while, not just waiting for inbound. And even as I type, Alice has texted something to our main phone (which is with Patrick at a high-school football game) … there is some reddening of the sky to the north-northeast.

  • RS September 12, 2014 (9:11 pm)

    Not sure you’d be able to see it quite yet, especially since it appears to have calmed a bit, but check out this site for a map: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/pmapN.html

  • Setheny How September 12, 2014 (9:34 pm)

    Thanks os much!!! This is great for amateur. Thanks for adding places in the east side

  • Amy September 12, 2014 (10:01 pm)

    What’s the best bet in WS? Myrtle Street sounds like a great spot??!

  • Trickycoolj September 12, 2014 (10:09 pm)

    I don’t know about that High Point tweet… I think that’s the glow if the Mariners and Sounders. I have a great view of the north sky out my top floor window in High Point.

  • A Capella September 12, 2014 (10:33 pm)

    Just got back from the Myrtle viewpoint. I could maybe see what they meant by a faint reddening in the NE. Left 10 min. ago and didn’t see the green hue.

    • WSB September 12, 2014 (10:43 pm)

      I just added Alice’s latest update … not looking good. Boo!

  • seaopgal September 12, 2014 (10:55 pm)

    Too bad … someday!

    • WSB September 12, 2014 (11:08 pm)

      I was afraid a watched kP level would never boil. Or something like that. Maybe one clear night when we’re not expecting it, the sky will be ablaze with unexplained color. Here’s hoping.

  • Ali September 12, 2014 (11:12 pm)

    Are you saying theres no more chance for a show tonight? I heard rumors about midnight, Im on Alki Beach right now 11:12pm

  • SkySI September 12, 2014 (11:16 pm)

    I’m in Lake City and have seen faint lights to the NE for the last hour or so. The moon is making them hard to see.

  • RS September 12, 2014 (11:23 pm)

    The Kp graph lags heavily because it’s a 3 hour window…the auroral map I posted is updated more regularly although the satellites still make whatever passes they can (I should look in to that…).

    And the auroral map has blown up again, so there’s a good chance soon!

    • WSB September 12, 2014 (11:29 pm)

      Well, yay. That’s why we’re going to keep watching.

  • SkySI September 12, 2014 (11:31 pm)

    The lights I was seeing have faded now. Hopefully they’ll be back!

  • Jd September 12, 2014 (11:36 pm)

    We’ve been keeping watch from up north of the hood canal bridge at port gamble tonight.
    Sorry to say as of 11:35 there’s been nothing to report except a lovely moonrise

  • sophie hugo September 12, 2014 (11:45 pm)

    Anyone saw anything?

  • FremontBoy September 13, 2014 (12:00 am)

    Nothing in fremont!!

  • SkySI September 13, 2014 (12:07 am)

    I saw the lights, but there’s only a whisper to the South left.

  • Brice September 13, 2014 (12:11 am)

    anyone see anything?

  • whit September 13, 2014 (12:21 am)

    I went out to Woodinville to get away from the lights – nothing. :(

  • Paul September 13, 2014 (12:33 am)

    I tried Seward Park, Jefferson Park, and Jose Rizal/Lewis Park. In terms of darkness, I think Seward was best. However, not a hint of green (or red). I looked on and off from 10pm or so till after midnight.

  • Gauri September 13, 2014 (12:38 am)

    Drove from SF to crater lake and do not see anything :((

  • Winston September 13, 2014 (12:52 am)

    Maybe someone forgot to pay the light bill? Still lights out here at Lincoln Park.

  • WestSide45 September 13, 2014 (1:04 am)

    Packed it in at 12:45. Skunked.
    Good stuff in Sagittarius before the Moon rose, however.

  • Kristen September 13, 2014 (1:24 am)

    Nothing in NW Oregon… :(

  • ashwin September 13, 2014 (1:24 am)

    No lights yet from Snohomish valley

  • Tyler September 13, 2014 (1:29 am)

    Have been watching the sky since 10pm and haven’t seen anything here in Anacortes… :(

  • bob September 13, 2014 (2:21 am)

    Mill creek and Cathcart

  • jj September 13, 2014 (2:29 am)

    Is 2:30 am and see a little of green on skies I’m in ws is more like dust I see

  • Alice September 13, 2014 (2:36 am)

    That was our best chance in quite a while. Don’t lose hope for another, and those of you out tonight, you got to see some good stars and meteors anyway.

  • Kenya September 13, 2014 (2:55 am)

    No lights in Port Angeles. Check out NOAA for a 30 sec update of auroral activity: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ovation/North_New.html

  • Mary Ellen September 13, 2014 (2:57 am)

    Nothing in central Whidbey….the moon is incredibly bright. Saw an awesome meteor.

  • Sherri Culver September 13, 2014 (3:08 am)

    We are near Ravensdale/Kanaskat/Palmer. Watching the skies off and on tonight and nothing seen.

  • Frankly September 13, 2014 (6:01 am)

    Same non-even in Northern Minnesota. Deep in the heart of the “good chance” stripe we sat up all night & watched the stars but never got the light show.

  • Stephanie September 13, 2014 (7:41 am)

    No show in N. Idaho either, but I did see that awesome meteor I think Mary Ellen mentioned at about 1 am. Never seen one like it. Is there a chance for tonight?

  • Betty perry September 13, 2014 (7:42 am)

    We’ll nothing from Gig Harbor last night. Slight light swash across sky. Moon was pretty bright. What’s the word for tonight?

  • David Proebstel September 13, 2014 (8:19 am)

    We joined several dozen on Hurricane Ridge, near Port Angeles. Watched until 2:30am but saw nothing.

  • SkySI September 13, 2014 (9:31 am)

    I have to say I’m fairly shocked that I’m the only one that saw the aurora. What I saw was very faint and had no color to speak of, but it was definitely aurora. My guess is that people thought they were clouds, but believe me clouds don’t glow.

    I don’t know what the chance is for more tonight, but it would be cool.

  • Stanlow September 13, 2014 (10:18 am)

    Out until 2:30am this morning and nothing to see on the Grandview Rd northwest of Ferndale (within 10 miles of the Canadian border). It’s an elevated and perfectly unobstructed view to the north. I saw a fairly strong show about 10 years ago so I keep coming back. Pity the light pollution from Vancouver and Surrey, B.C. is so strong…

  • Night watcher September 13, 2014 (10:25 am)

    I am 100% sure you saw clouds, not aurora. It was waaay too weak and far away for us to see last night.

  • SeattleCat September 13, 2014 (10:29 am)

    I drove all-over tarnation and nothing.

  • Stanlow September 13, 2014 (1:26 pm)

    I would tend to agree with night watcher. Streaks of cirrus clouds being under-lighted by ambient urban lights can look like auroral displays – especially when winds aloft move them.

  • Kristijan September 13, 2014 (2:34 pm)

    Any word on visibility tonight?

  • ACG September 13, 2014 (5:12 pm)

    How are things looking for tonight?

  • Trileigh September 13, 2014 (6:38 pm)

    I just have to say how cool it is to be reading comments from so far away right here on our neighborhood WSB! Thanks for checking in, West Seattle expats and other fans!

  • Steven September 13, 2014 (8:15 pm)

    Anything yet anybody?

  • Lisa September 13, 2014 (8:35 pm)

    WSB: Will there be a separate thread tonight, or should we check in here? Thanks for the skygazing assistance!

  • northernlights September 13, 2014 (8:45 pm)

    At artist point. Hoping for a show tonight. Thanks to everyone for all the updates last night.

  • RedCanoe September 13, 2014 (8:50 pm)

    I am near Fremont Peak Park. I am not seeing anything yet. Hopefully later tonight.

    • WSB September 13, 2014 (8:57 pm)

      There is no indication there’ll be an aurora tonight. Nonetheless, I will likely have something shortly about a meteor seen tonight and will mention the latest aurora prospects as part of that …

  • SkySI September 13, 2014 (9:17 pm)

    I definitely saw aurora last night. I have seen aurora many times and that was it. It was transparent. It changed on timescales way too short for clouds. There were no clouds last night. They were crazy dim, but they were the lights.

  • Stanlow September 13, 2014 (9:28 pm)

    WSB, if you are referring to a meteor within the last two hours, my mother-in-law saw it. She was looking out a western facing window and as I was talking to her, her eyes bugged out like she saw a ghost. She said it was yellowish/greenish and streaked from south to north. I just missed it, dang it!!

    • WSB September 13, 2014 (9:33 pm)

      Yes, it apparently was seen over a wide stretch of the West Coast. I’m bummed to have missed it too – we were out walking along Beach Drive until just after 8 pm, but at the reported time of this sighting, we were in a grocery store.

  • Cindy Holland September 13, 2014 (9:32 pm)

    Saw a large meteor streaking across the SW sky at around 8:15pm in Surrey, BC fairly low to the horizon, greenish tinge then white, sparks in behind – thought it was fireworks at first it was so large.

  • SkySI September 13, 2014 (10:01 pm)

    @Night watcher: I’m 100% sure that you didn’t see anything last night, but I’m 100% sure that I did. Please don’t offer such sweeping statements unless you know what you are talking about.

  • Night watch September 13, 2014 (10:31 pm)

    Oh, I did see something: clouds and lights coming from the city – and some meteors.

    Sure, you know what you are talking about and I don’t.

    Seattle has magnetic latitude of 52.7 so it needs about Kp 7:

    Kp was 4 or lower last night after sunset:

    Congrats on seeing the aurora nonetheless. I’m sure you can see it tonight too – despite having low Kp.

  • Achy September 13, 2014 (10:36 pm)

    We saw the meteor at 8:15/8:20 it was huge, very bright, and heading west, with a yellowish greenish tail. It was bright, then got faint then got super bright again and faded out westward with a smoking tail . We were in redmond, wa.

  • Malin September 13, 2014 (10:50 pm)

    Anyone know what the fireworks were for tonight on the Kitsap Peninsula? Looked like they were around the Hansville area. I’m in Mukilteo.

  • SkySI September 13, 2014 (11:05 pm)

    @Night watch: The pages you pointed to do not have a definition for “able to see” nor do they have error bars on any of the measurements they post. Further, the Kp measurements are averaged over 3 hours.

    I only saw lights for an hour or so. I know (and perhaps you do too, but I’m not sure) that the flux of particles can change significantly over minute time scales (let alone hours) giving plenty of time for those graphs to average out.

    I was trying to inform people that there was hope for seeing aurora last night. I’m sorry more people didn’t see them.

  • SkySI September 13, 2014 (11:14 pm)

    @Night watch: In response to your snarky comment, I have not seen any aurora tonight, but it’s incredibly clear.

  • Alice September 14, 2014 (12:52 am)

    Well, despite the minimalist/no-show aurora, I was thrilled to be “with” you all online last night as we were all watching the sky. I hope you were able to relax and enjoy the stars.
    I’ll be sure to let y’all know and be online next time Kp is predicted to go to 6 or higher during our nighttime.
    We’re in the post-Solar-maximum year, which is when the Sun tends to give of its highest-level flares. So, we can expect more high Kp numbers here and there over the next weeks or months. That doesn’t mean they’ll line up for us to see aurora, but it gives us a chance.

Sorry, comment time is over.