Northern lights look unlikely at this point for Indiana

For all you space weather geeks out there (yes, I’m a proud member!), we are waiting to see if the auroras are visible later this evening.  Here’s what’s going on currently.

A CME (coronal mass ejection) hit the Earth’s magnetic field around 6:45 PM EDT.  The initial hit from the solar storm does not cause the auroras to become visible but the waves after the storm.  So, we are basically on stand by to see if this storm was strong enough to form the northern lights here in Indiana.

We do have two things working toward us. 
#1: Skies are clear so the northern lights would be visible to the north
#2: The aurora oval currently includes all of Indiana, which is also good for viewing potential.

Now let’s talk about what needs to happen over the next few hours.  Our Kp value needs to increase to 7 or higher. I’ve included a map below to show the Kp value we need to get up to in order to see the northern lights.  Basically the stronger the Kp value, the stronger the magnetic storm.  The strongest storms tend to be visible farther south.

**UPDATE** At 10 PM, the Kp index went down to a 2.  It’s still too low to see any aurora activity here in Indiana.  The rating did NOT go up with the latest observation, it actually went down 1 so I wouldn’t bank on seeing the northern lights tonight.  The storm appears to have been too weak.

kp value

Upon the storms arrival, described the storm as “weak”.  I have yet to find any definitive forecast on how high the Kp value will get tonight.

So if everything would come together (and yes… IF), here’s what you would need to do to see the northern lights.
#1. Look north
#2. Get outside of any major town or city. The city lights make it too hard to see
#3. Wait until after 9-10 PM and you may be waiting until after 1 AM.

What I’ll be doing this evening is monitoring this “Kp” value and putting updates in this post regarding strength and our feasibility of seeing the northern lights.

**I am not a space weather forecaster! I only dabble in the topic but find most of my information through, NOAA and NASA**


38 Comments to “Northern lights look unlikely at this point for Indiana”

    Eric Ownbey said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    Great information Jennifer and very interesting! Not sure if we will be able to see the northerrn lights back here in central Illinois (Danville) as it is still cloudy overcast. Still follow you here on facebook and miss you in the mornings! Thanks and Take care!

    John Lucas Hargis said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Well, I can honestly say that your forecast has the most understandable English in it. ;)

    Taylor said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    You're the only person I've found posting updates on this… I've always wanted to see them and will gladly be up until 1am to do so, just want to make sure I don't miss it, so I'll be checking in here to keep tabs!

      John Lucas Hargis said:
      April 13, 2013 at 8:41 PM

      Same here. We're tracking. And hoping.

    Rachel said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    I live out in the country. Hopefully I will get an better view of them :)

    Janel Powell Draganjac said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Hi, I live in North Western Pennsylvania & so far there’s lots of clouds, light & dark ones. Believe me I live for this stuff! I see a tinge of ORANGE low on the horizon. I’ll keep checking though :-)

    Judy said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Thank you for the update…I will be watching for updates tonight.

    love lights said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Remember seeing them last year they were so beautiful!!!

    beth shugren said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    do you think us in minnesota could see them??????!!!!!

    John Lucas Hargis said:
    April 13, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    This FB page is streaming pretty live updates

      Taylor said:
      April 13, 2013 at 8:59 PM


    Caryn said:
    April 13, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    I'm in Greenwood. Think it will be worthwhile to schlepp my girls east toward Shelbyville? Or should we just stay home? I know the city is going to obscure the lights, but don't know if it's worth making the trip, if we're going to be able to see anything. Thanks!

      Steven said:
      April 13, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      Same here..ill stay up and hopefully be able to see any of them but i doubt it living in downtown Greenwood. Anyone out in the country or just in a dark part of town it would be awesome if you could get a few pics or some video of them and send to Fox59. I know you can see them from other spots online but would be cool to see some shot from the local area!

        Adam said:
        April 13, 2013 at 9:59 PM

        Drive out to the country lol

    jim said:
    April 13, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    Doubt I will see much on the south side of Indy but it's stories like this that remind my why I prefer Fox 59 over the other local stations (thanks Jennifer).

    And of course a race in Texas that's on now.

    jenniferketchmarkfox59 responded:
    April 13, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Thanks guys for all the nice comments on my article. I try to keep things simple and understandable. Heck, you get too scientific and you lose almost everyone! We are still watching the levels.. nothing high enough yet as of 10 PM. I am starting to see a few reports in the higher latitude in Europe, but nothing state side. The next K rating should be out at 11 PM. For those wanting to see them, I'm hold off for right now. Let's see what this 11 PM rating is like and go from there. Not worth getting the kids out of bed yet!

      Caryn said:
      April 13, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      You're just awesome. Thanks for all the info!

    Amanda Mosiman said:
    April 13, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Thanks for keeping us updated. I think we may go for a easterly drive!! (from SW Indiana)

    Tina olsen said:
    April 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Anyone see them in CT yet??

      jenniferketchmarkfox59 responded:
      April 13, 2013 at 10:33 PM

      Not that I can find Tina

    Teresa said:
    April 13, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    I have seen them once b4 n it was a beautiful site i was about 13 or so n my dad made me come outside n i was totally amazed! I live in indiana n i hope to see them again i love the colors it makes! So so beautiful

    Brian said:
    April 13, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    Sitting on a bridge way out in the country roughly 30 miles east of Akron/canton Ohio. We have a good 360degree view since we’re surrounded by water! Hopefully well get to see them it will be our first time. Ill be sure to post if we do

      jenniferketchmarkfox59 responded:
      April 13, 2013 at 11:31 PM

      The latest recording came in and the K-index went down. There's a chance it could still go up but I wouldn't put any money on it. Storm must have been weaker than what NASA/NOAA expected

    Molly said:
    April 13, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Has there been an update on this yet? I really hope we get to see it!

      lace said:
      April 13, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      No update but I am keeping an eye on it. Still not visible for indiana area, but it has got closer. I got my info from here

      jenniferketchmarkfox59 responded:
      April 13, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      I just updated it at 11:15 PM. The K index went down with the latest rating. I think our chances of seeing the auroras is fading fast :(

    John Lucas Hargis said:
    April 13, 2013 at 11:27 PM
    Scroll halfway down the page until you see the 3 dials. We want the one on the left to drop into the negative zone. If it drops, we just might be in luck…

    Loft said:
    April 13, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Hopefully we get to see natures light show tonight! Fingers crossed here

    hope we see it said:
    April 13, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    it would be nice to see them, i have never seen them except on tv lol was looking forward to it and i am not giving up yet well i have nothing better to do while i sit here at work other than watch the night sky lol

    Adam said:
    April 13, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Ugh, I just noticed the title changed to UNLIKELY =(

    Brian said:
    April 14, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    So of course the proton density has practically tripled in the last half hour and we just got back into Akron. Will check to see if the k level goes up any at 2am est otherwise I’m going to bed. I’d imagine it will go up since the proton density went up but what do I know

    donna said:
    April 14, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    has anyone seen them yet?

      Cali_Joe said:
      April 14, 2013 at 2:45 AM

      Nothing here in san diego. = P

    VERYMAD said:
    April 14, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    didnt see no lights >.>;