I worked at home Thursday, with my background companion, CNN. CNN is usually suitably boring, but Thursday morning they were wild about a solar storm due to hit earth. Threats of GPS outages, satellites down, and "VIVID AURORA BOREALIS AS FAR SOUTH AS SAINT LOUIS."
My head whipped up. Northern lights? Where? When? I immediately showered in preparation for the road trip I spontaneously planned just that moment.
I planned to leave the house and drive as far North as possible as soon as the sun set. Remember, seeing the Aurora is a dream deferred by Gary's migraine. And this is typical of my life: Mohammed can't go to the Aurora, let the Aurora come to Mohammed. Of course the Aurora comes to see me, I am absurdly fortunate. I shrug. Can't help it, just lucky I guess.
All day Thursday I checked Twitter, because I follow @Aurora_Alerts. Usually they bore me with news of an aurora in zone 4, which is mostly Canada. I'm in zone 8. Their web site confirmed there might we be lights in the Saint Louis sky. I checked weather.com, and they said it would be partly cloudy. I decided I'd see where the cloud cover was on the map at sunset and then drive away from it. I had to get away from the lights of the city anyway.
At about 4 I heard CNN say, "The solar storm did not hit us directly. Earth just got a glancing blow," and while they did still promise an aurora, they said nothing about Saint Louis. Aw, damn. Road trip cancelled.
Just in case, I checked the sky a few times before I went to bed. Nothing but clouds. I checked the aurora alert site. Aurora was at "STORM" level, only over Canada. Then I slept hard until 5:30 a.m., when I woke up to see an alert that "AURORA IS AT STORM LEVEL ZONE 7.6!" Close enough to 8 for me!
I darted outside just in time to see a pink glow in the Northeast. It got brighter and brighter until I realized it was the dawn.
And then Friday , off and on all day, the aurora was intermittently at STORM LEVEL over 7.6! All DAY long. If an aurora shines but you can't see it because of the fucking SUN, does it make a light? NO. Stupid sun blocking my view of the Northern Lights dancing overhead.
Hope springs though: there is to be another solar flare on the 11th.