Volcanoes, Aurora, and Clouds, Oh My!
Posted 15 days ago

The Day Night Band is a special channel on the Suomi National Polar Partnership (SNPP) weather satellite that can detect very faint sources of light even over Alaska during the darkest time of the year.  This image was taken at 3:21 am Alaska Standard Time on Friday, December 23.  

Note the prominent waves of aurora streaking across the state.  Sometimes the aurora can move faster than the Day Night Band can really keep up with, and in those situations the aurora can have a slightly smeared or striped appearance.  Zoom into the aurora shown in this image, and you can see the aurora’s jagged edge.  This phenomenon has been observed before and is described nicely in this blog post http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/projects/npp/blog/index.php/uncategorized/aurora-australis-from-the-day-night-band/ 

Also note in the lower left corner of this image a faint smudge of light shining through a deck of clouds down at the end of the Alaska Peninsula (area highlighted in the yellow circle).   This is Bogoslof Volcano erupting, and is right next door to Palvolf Volcano whose previous eruptions have also been observed in the Day Night Band.   Similar activity at Bogoslof continued through the holidays and into this first week of January.  The latest information concerning Bogoslof is available at the Alaska Volcano Observatory’s website https://www.avo.alaska.edu/  

And lastly, even in the middle of an Alaskan night just a couple of days after the winter solstice, the Day Night Band detects clouds and their associated weather systems.  Note the clear skies over Kodiak Island and the western Gulf of Alaska, while much of the Bering Sea and Southeast Alaska have patchy cloud cover.  Day Night Band imagery, as well as other kinds of imagery from weather satellites, are available at GINA’s website http://feeder.gina.alaska.edu/

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