March 30 - April 1, 2001 Aurora Gallery
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Summary: An interplanetary shock wave (generated by a coronal mass ejection from the giant sunspot 9393) passed NASA's ACE spacecraft at 0030 UT on March 31st (7:30 pm EST on March 30th) and struck Earth's magnetosphere about 30 minutes later. The leading edge of the shock front was dense (~150 protons/cc) and strongly magnetized -- traits that can (and did!) give rise to powerful geomagnetic disturbances. Sky watchers spotted Northern Lights as far south as Mexico.

Unless otherwise stated, all images are copyrighted by the photographers.

  Photographer, Location Images Comments

LeRoy Zimmerman, Fairbanks, Alaska #1, #2, #3, more These stunning panoramas by LeRoy Zimmerman are a must-see! March 31, 2001 (1940 PDT)

Dennis Mammana, San Diego, CA #1, more D. Mammana captured this image of red auroras and cirrus clouds near the Sunrise Highway east of
San Diego. Photo details: Fuji Superia (ISO 800), Nikon F camera, 35mm Nikkor f/1.4 lens, 60 seconds at f/2. March 31, 2001 (1940 PDT)

Jan Curtis, Fairbanks, Alaska #1, #2, #3, #4, more Veteran aurora photographer J. Curtis captured #1, #2 and #3 on March 30th (10:30 pm local time) and #4 on March 31st (11:50 pm). Photo details: Film Supra 800, 35 mm lens @ f/2.0, exposures (#1, 15 secs), #2, 5 secs, #3 20 secs, #4, 15 secs.

Chris Grohusko, Cornudas Mountains, west Texas #1, #2, #3 C. Grohusko captured these pictures in a place where auroras are rare indeed -- west Texas. The thumbnail shows Texan Northen Lights at dawn. Photo details: 20 seconds exposure, 28mm f/2.8, Fuji 800 Superia film. March 31, 2001 (2220 PST)

Dawn Schur, Payson, Arizona #1, more D. Schur: "We have seen some auroras here before, but only the red ones. This one was so much more. There were red curtains and green streamers that were pulsating all across the sky. " March 31, 2001

Chris Petrich, Dunedin, New Zealand #1, #2, #3 Chris Petrich: "Auroras filled the sky from midnight until 2am. I took these photos well within city limits." Photo details: #1 15sec, #2 and #3 30s, 28mm Nikkor, 2.8, Kodak Gold 100. April 1, 2001

Ron Giachetti, Spokane, WA #1, #2, #3 Ron Giachetti: "Last night was ablaze in colors here in Spokane. The sky was reddish by 8 P.M. PST. I drove north about 30 miles to take these pictures... between 11 P.M. and 12:30 A.M. PST." Photo details: digital Toshiba PDR-M70 with exposure times from 15 to 60 seconds. March 30-31, 2001

Mark Egan, Houston, Texas #1, #2 Mark Egan spotted this red glow over Houston as the auroral storm spread to southern latitudes. Photo details: Pentax K-1000; Kodak Portra 160 NC print film; exposures 5 to 20 sec. March 31, 2001

Forrest E. Ray, Twin Falls, Idaho #1, #2 F. Ray: "The sky was over 95% filled with aurora. We have never experienced such a show at this lattitude!" Photo details: Spotmatic Pentax Camera 400 speed Fuji film, 16 s exposures. March 30, 2001 (11 pm MST)

Jimmy Westlake, Steamboat Springs, CO #1 J. Westlake captured this image of startrails and auroras through the clouds over Colorado. Photo details: 30 minute exposure, 35 mm lens at f5.6, Kodak Max 400 film March 31, 2001 (9:08-9:38 PM MST)

Dave Curtis, Dunedin, New Zealand #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 D. Curtis: "These were taken from my home in Dunedin using a Canon F1 with a 24-48 Tamron zoom. Film was Fujicolor Superia 400ASA." March 31, 2001

Ulrich Rieth, Mainz, Germany #1, #2, #3 U Rieth: "The camera was a Canon FT with 28mm f/2.8 lens. The film is Fuji Sensia 400 color slide film. Exposure times were between 30 and 60 seconds." March 31, 2001

Michel Benvenuto, Nice, France #1, #2, #3 On a spring Saturday night just a few miles from the beaches of Nice, France, Michel Benvenuto captured these images using a 17mm lens at F/D 3.5 in 40s on Fujicolor Press 800. April 1, 2001

Ulrike Haug, near Fairbanks, Alaska #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7 U. Haug: "I took those images with a Minolta 35 mm camera, 24 mm f2.8 and 35 mm f1.8 lenses exposed with f2.8 and between 10 to 20 seconds on Kodak Max 800 ISO. In the soft corona (#5) you can see the Big Dipper." March 30-31, 2001

Jessica and Brian Williams, Kalispell, Montana #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 J. Williams: "[It] began with opal-colored rays in the northwest, then the south sky turned red and a sort of epicenter appeared at zenith - rays were beaming from it in all directions. We used 800 speed film in our 35 mm Minolta X700 on a tripod. F1.7 with auto-exposure" March 31, 2001 (0530 - 0700 UT)

Mike Blackburn, Boise, Idaho #1, #2 M. Blackburn: "At one point we had aurora visible for 360 degrees. The intensity was simply staggering." Photo details: 35 mm 400ASA film with 21 mm f3.5. Exposure 40 seconds." March 31, 2001

Pete Strasser, near Sacramento, CA #1, #2 Pete Strasser: "The early-evening sky had a nice glow, then at 11:00 pm PST, it burst into color, moving fast with bands shimmering well past the zenith. It lasted like this for about 40 minutes." Photo details: Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Super B and a Pro-Tessar 35mm Wide angle lens, using Fuji Superia 800 film 15 second exposure March 30, 2001 (PST)

Brian Klimowski, Rapid City, Sorth Dakota #1, more B. Klimowski: "It was a gorgeous display, extending from horizon to horizon and overhead. Spectacular! March 30, 2001 (11:30 pm MST)

Ronnie Sherrill, Troutman N.C. #1, #2, #3, #4 Photo details: Olympus OM1 camera, Kodak Max 400 film ,(#1 & #2) 28mm f 3.5 , 40 sec. exp; (#3 & #4) hubcap, 135mm f 3.5 , 1 min. exp. March 31, 2001 (06-0700 UT)

Tom Warner, Rapid City, SD #1, #2, more Photo details: Nikon FM2 20 mm lens, f2.8, 1 min exposure, Fuji Provia 100F (ISO 100). March 31, 2001 (0415 UT)

Elizabeth Passuello, Greymouth, New Zealand #1, #2, #3 Photo details: 1 minute exposures, Nikkor 24mm lens and Fujicolor Press 800 print film. March 31, 2001

Mark Simpson, Alberta, Canada #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 These five pictures include Canmore, Banff, and Sibbald Creek in Alberta, Canada. For more information click here. March 30-31, 2001

David Copley, Grand Junction, Colorado #1 Photo details: 28 mm lens at f2.8 on Fuji 800 print film, 20 second exposure. March 30, 2001 (11:15 pm MST).

Robert and Adam Smith, Stoneville, NC #1, #2, #3 Photo details: Camera Fuji ST605N. Yashinon 55mm lens 1.2 with Spiratone Curvatar wide-angle attachment. Fuji 200 Super HQ film. March 31, 2001 (11:30 pm EST).

UCLA Solar Towercam, Mt. Wilson, California #1,#2 An automated camera on Mt. Wilson in southern California catured these images of rare red aurora. The dome in the foreground houses the famous Mt. Wilson 100-inch telescope. March 30, 2001 (2220 PST)

Mark Cunningham, Craig, CO #1, #2 Mark Cunningham captured these images during a 3 hour aurora storm over his backyard observatory in Colorado. March 31, 2001

Jan Lameer, on the island of Terschelling, Netherlands #1 Jan Lameer: "This was a strong display that was competing with twilight. If it had started an hour earlier, this would have been a huge show for us." Photo details: 40 seconds on a 24/2.0 Nikkor at 2.8 on Kodak Portra 800 negative film. March 31, 2001 (0240 UT)

Stan & Kris Richard, near Des Moines, IA #1, #2, #3 These pictures captured on April 1st record the final stages of the geomagnetic storm as it fitfully subsided over North America. Photo details: 28mm lens at f/1.7 and exposed for 30 secs on Fuji NHG II color neg film. March 1, 2001

See also our aurora gallery covering the period March 19 - 24, 2001. is sponsored in part by Ask Dr. Tech.

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