I should have stayed up past midnight! A very large solar flare on Saturday triggered a geomagnetic storm in the Earth’s upper atmosphere giving rise to aurora much further south than normal. There is a geeky NASA website that tracks the intensity of solar storms and when the “K index” gets into the red zone, watch out. In addition to triggering the northern lights, intense solar storms can disrupt radio communications and damage satellites. A really, really big one like occurred in 1859 could even disrupt the electrical grid for weeks or months! This photo shows what you might be able to see in the coming months in the South as the Sun nears its 11 year peak cycle of activity. This photo was taken by Todd Bush in Banner Elk just after midnight this morning.