On August 24, 2016 the earth received a blast of negative coronal hole “wind” from CH756. I had been tracking this coronal hole since it was backside on the sun and at that time it was huge and center disk on the sun. I had big hopes that it would not close up before first affecting earth and I knew it was powerful because NASA’s enlil spiral model was showing it was powerful. This image was taken by the STEREO A satellite on August 10th. Shortly after this image the large filament shown snapped and created a huge CME, luckily not at earth.
As this coronal hole rotated around into earth’s neighborhood, the corona began to close down on it and shrunk it down but luckily not the center which would affect us the most. In this image, taken by NASA’s SDO, you can see CH756 on the left, center disk. This had me worrying that it would be completely shut down by the time it faced earth but I didn’t give up hope that it just might be open around the corner out of view.
As the coronal hole turned into earth’s direction, SDO was showing a more complete absence of the corona.
Then the late afternoon on the 23rd, the skies began to clear and by sunset, there were no clouds to be seen. Now it was a waiting game. Constant checking of the instruments monitoring earth’s space weather and magnetic field.
After I had gotten home from work I took a walk down to the water to see if there were any clouds and check the meters again. Here it was! What I’ve been waiting for for two weeks.
I was only out for about three hours. The geomagnetic storm continued but at my location, the nights are still pretty short as sunset and sunrise are only a few hours apart and we rotated out of the auroral oval.
In the end, the geomagnetic storm wasn’t as strong as I had anticipated but it sure was a beautiful show. A whole lot of movement and close stages of explosive illumanance followed by a plasma filled glow throughout the sky.