2024 gifted us another heavenly and historic development last night. The internet is on and the grid is still up, but the Northern Lights took the world by storm. Local Florida NBC-2 ran a late story headlined, “AMAZING SIGHT: Aurora Borealis sightings over Southwest Florida..” NBC’s anchor began, “I can’t believe this is happening.” He continued, “I have never heard, ever heard, of the Northern Lights being seen as far south as we are.” He’s not the only one. In my entire life, I’ve never even heard anybody even suggest anything about Northern Lights in Florida. Never.

Late last night, as NBC2 News at 11 was getting on the air, viewers as far south as Naples on Florida’s southern Gulf Coast began sending in photos of the horizon showing dappled hues of purple and pink. Many other reports streamed into the station from Rotonda, Captiva, Deep Creek and Immokalee. (Those aren’t even close to the most oddly named Florida towns. We have one called Two Egg. Singular.)

There were even reports online of visible auroras in Key West — the United State’s southernmost point.

Obviously, if aurora were visible in Florida, they were also seen in many, many other places. Forbes ran a story rounding up some of the eye candy early this morning headlined, “In Photos: Aurora Seen Across The World In Jaw-Dropping Sky Show.”

The good news is, now we can check off the bucket list that Northern Lights cruise. The Northern Lights came to us instead! Done and done.

Just kidding, cruisers! Local light pollution prevented aurora watching in many spots, especially in the middle latitudes where the phenomena wasn’t as pronounced. In other latitudes, well, just search social media for ‘aurora’ this morning. The most remarkable shot I found was this pic, claimed to be taken over London from an airplane at midnight local time (we don’t know yet whether it was a Boeing, but it was still airborne, so):

What signs did you guys see in the Heavens last night? Let’s compare notes in the comments.

You may recall that yesterday, NOAA’s models predicted aurora down through the upper southern states, but the storm surged right past that tentative guess and as far as we know, it became a truly global phenomenon visible everywhere. As of writing time this morning, the storm has now reached maximum G5 levels, achieving a top KP-9 rating, and even pumped out another solar flare, by my count making eight in the continuing series.

In other words, it’s not over yet. Tonight will almost certainly provide more chances for more aurora viewing in case you missed the action last night. The extremely unusual, if not unprecedented “flare train” the Earth is currently riding out, as well as the enduring, Earth-directed solar activity, seems to make it inevitable this event will be compared to 1921’s “Great New York Storm,” mentioned in yesterday’s post.