July 12th, NASA scientists observed a class X-1.4 coronal mass ejection (CME) heading in the direction of Earth. As one might expect, X-class emissions are on the high end of the scale of solar irradiation, and a possible cause of concern. The CME hit the Earth two days later on Saturday at around 2PM Eastern Daylight Time (1800 UT). Scientists anticipated a brilliant Borealis and disruption of communications systems.
Fortunately, the main result was a global fireworks show. Spaceweather.com says they received reports of incredible Borealis sightings “as far south as Oregon, California, Colorado, Missouri, Utah, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Illinois, Kansas, South Dakota, Nebraska, Michigan and Arkansas.”
Travis Navitsky of Grand Portage, Minnesota made a party of it. Rather than retire early Saturday, he, his girlfriend and friends stayed up late to enjoy the super-sized Borealis. To his credit, Travis took some rather glorious photos of the event.
This is the second class X solar event for the month of July according to NASA.