The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) provides images that can be used with Google Earth to show the extent and position of the auroral oval extrapolated from measurements taken by the NOAA POES satellite. The plots contain the same data used to make the north and south plots displayed on the NOAA POES Auroral Activity page. The auroral oval represented in the plots is not a photograph, and is not real-time. It is extrapolated statistically from the Space Environment Monitor (SEM) auroral particle data obtained during a single pass of a POES satellite over a polar region. For more information, see the NOAA POES Auroral Activity site.
The auroral oval plots have static filenames: GEpmapN.png and GEpmapS.png for the Northern and Southern hemisphere. Both plots are updated every ten minutes, and whenever new data arrives from one of the POES satellites. For the time of the latest plots and further details see the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere web pages.
The map projection is cylindrical, extending from -180 to +180 degrees centered on the Greenwich meridian, and from the geographic pole to 34 degrees equatorward. This projection is usable by Google Earth as an image overlay.
To use, first download and install Google Earth from http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html
Click on SWPC Auroral Oval Google Earth file.
These image files are not official SWPC products and may end or change at any time. The format and long-term availability are not guaranteed. A complete list of SWPC Space Weather data is online.
Questions and comments welcome. See NOAA POES Auroral Activity site -- June 26, 2006 / July 7, 2009