In Brief

Northern Lights Webcast Tonight: Watch Amped Up Auroras Live

This spectacular photo of the northern lights over Iceland was captured by photographer Juan Carlos Casado with the online observatory Slooh/IAC Expedition.
This spectacular photo of the northern lights over Iceland was captured by photographer Juan Carlos Casado with the online observatory Slooh/IAC Expedition. (Image credit: Juan Carlos Casado, SLOOH/IAC Expedition)

Auroras around the world could be super-charged tonight thanks to a severe solar storm impacting Earth, but even if bad weather hinders your view of the northern lights, you can still catch them live in a webcast online.

The online Slooh Community Observatory will broadcast live views of the aurora borealis from Iceland tonight (March 17), and it should be a good show. A massive geomagnetic storm is currently impacting Earth, and while there have been no reports of power outages or other issues related to the solar tempest, people have witnessed amazing auroras caused by the storm. You can watch the aurora show directly through Slooh or live on starting at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT).

"This Tuesday [today] we will have a ringside seat on Slooh to explore the shimmering spectacle of the Northern Lights," Slooh's Will Gater said in a statement. "With Paul Cox speaking to us live from Iceland, we hope to capture some of the magic and emotion of watching this enthralling natural phenomenon. It promises to be a show you won’t want to miss!"

The geomagnetic storm was caused by two eruptions from the sun that joined together while flying toward Earth. The storm is warping the planet's magnetic field, possibly creating brilliant aurora displays through the middle of the United States and in northern Europe. Skywatchers in Washington State and other parts of the north United States already reported seeing striking auroras before sunrise.

If you want to try to spot the auroras live tonight, be sure to get far from city lights and hunker down under clear skies.

"We have heard of some very vivid sightings of aurora before the sun rose today," Brent Gordon, the Space Weather Prediction Center's space weather services branch chief, said during a news teleconference today. "Aurora sightings were mainly confined to the northern tier of the United States — Minnesota, Wisconsin, both North and South Dakota as well as Washington State … and of course Alaska as well."

Editor's Note: If you have an amazing photo of the aurora or any other night sky view that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at

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Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.