Skip to main content

Everything worked out the way it was supposed to for Minnesotans to see the brilliant display of the northern lights. Everything except for the northern lights, that is. 

As someone who drove away from light pollution in the Twin Cities and slept in a car in an effort to see the dazzling hues around 4 a.m., I can confirm that the aurora borealis didn't live up to the hype. 

Turns out Minnesota got skunked. So did Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and pretty much everywhere else in the U.S. where there was a chance to see the light show thanks to a huge solar flare that had sent particles from a coronal mass ejection (CME) on the sun hurtling towards earth. 

The X1-class, G3 magnetic storm that was forecast just didn't have the oomph like the experts thought it would. So what happened?

"A CME hit Earth's magnetic field on Oct. 31st at approximately 10:00 UT. The impact was weak--a far cry from the "big hit" we expected," says "What happened? It's possible that the bulk of the Oct. 28th CME missed our planet; after all, it was directed somewhat south of the sun-Earth line. Despite the feebleness of the impact, minor G1-class geomagnetic storms are still possible in the hours ahead."

Sad, because literally everything else worked out perfectly to give Minnesota a show for the ages. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the Space Weather Prediction Center said the best viewing time would be 4-7 a.m. Sunday, giving cloud cover associated with a passing cold front plenty of time to clear eastern Minnesota, which it did around 1 or 2 a.m. 

The weaker-than-expected geomagnetic storm still gave Canada some brilliant northern lights, and Iceland really got the goods

Minnesotans, like me, got nothing. But if you did sleep in your car or make a middle-of-the-night drive in an effort to see the northern lights, at least you have your pride. Or if you were really lucky, like Twitterer "Worship The Pig," you might've made friends with a raccoon. 

Next Up


Hero dad who stopped carjacker who fled with his kids identified

A GoFundMe has been set up to support Derek Gotchie and his family following the incident.

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.


Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.


Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.


Charges: Armed man made death threats at Minneapolis LGBTQ bar

The man allegedly used derogatory terms while threatening to kill someone.


FDA pulls last COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment as new variants rise

A therapy used to treat more than 11,000 Minnesotans is no longer authorized amid a surge in the latest COVID-19 variants.

Austin Robert LeClaire

Charges: Plymouth man shot girlfriend in head after birthday party

The 23-year-old victim is in critical condition as of Friday.


State announces $2.5M in grants for child care providers

Child care providers in roughly a dozen communities will receive funds to help grow the supply of affordable, quality child care.


Probe of Golden Valley police uncovers racism, alleged misconduct

One officer was terminated for alleged racist comments and violations of state law.


Screen Shot 2021-11-04 at 8.04.16 AM

After weekend bust, northern lights put on an overnight show in MN

The real deal happened Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-09-06 at 7.48.06 AM

Northern lights puts on a show in MN over holiday weekend

One of the best space weather shows of the year.


Good chance to see Northern Lights all over Minnesota Wednesday night

A strong geometric storm is forecast to hit earth, which could make the aurora borealis visible farther south than is typical.

northern lights

Pictures: Skywatchers treated to spectacular northern lights show in MN

The aurora borealis was visible as far south as Iowa overnight.

sunrise, Minneapolis

What happens to MN winters if daylight saving time becomes permanent?

Anyone ready for 100+ consecutive days of the sun not rising until after 8 a.m.?

Screen Shot 2020-12-09 at 5.51.22 PM

Weather with Sven: Northern lights chances in the Twin Cities

The southern half of Minnesota could get quite the light show Wednesday night.