In fact, according to spaceweather.com, more will be coming over the next few days. In addition, the website already has a large gallery of aurora images from last night.
When the highly-charged particles of energy hit our upper atmosphere, they interact with Earth’s magnetic field, causing disruptions in electronic communications. In 1989, a solar storm was so strong that it knocked out power over a large part of Canada. Besides the electronic glitches, the highly charged particles from the Sun interacting with the atoms in our upper atmosphere can cause something else: aurora, more commonly known as the Northern and Southern lights, which are essentially a natural ‘neon’ light display..
For us living in the Northern hemisphere, auroras are common in high latitudes such as Canada, the Scandinavian countries, and higher. For those at mid latitudes, such as Cleveland’s 41 degrees North, auroras don’t find their way into our skies very often.
Tonight and the next few could be the exception.
Because the blasts of energy from the Sun were so powerful, experts are forecasting that auroras may be seen tonight at lower than normal latitudes, which can include Northeast Ohio. Auroras have been seen here before. In May, 2005, I saw a stunning display of auroras that ranged from purple overhead to green curtains near the horizon. Needless to say, they were spectacular.
So how about tonight?
Well, the news is good and bad. For starters, the Moon is on its way to new, which means that nature’s night light won’t interfere with aurora watching. The bad news is that, cloud wise, things are looking pretty lousy tonight, at least in the Cleveland area. Live somewhere else, see if it will be clear near you. Sure, the Northern Lights may not make it this far down, but it never hurts to look.
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National Space News Examiner
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