Mapping auroral activity with Twitter

N. A. Case, E. A. Macdonald, M. Heavner, A. H. Tapia, N. Lalone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Twitter is a popular, publicly accessible, social media service that has proven useful in mapping large-scale events in real time. In this study, for the first time, the use of Twitter as a measure of auroral activity is investigated. Peaks in the number of aurora-related tweets are found to frequently coincide with geomagnetic disturbances (detection rate of 91%). Additionally, the number of daily aurora-related tweets is found to strongly correlate with several auroral strength proxies (ravg≈0.7). An examination is made of the bias for location and time of day within Twitter data, and a first-order correction of these effects is presented. Overall, the results suggest that Twitter can provide both specific details about an individual aurora and accurate real-time indication of when, and even from where, an aurora is visible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3668-3672
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 28 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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