Northern lights: Geomagnetic storm causes dazzling light show

Northern lights: Geomagnetic storm causes dazzling light show

Canadians were treated to a dazzling display of northern lights this week, as wide stripes of green filled the night sky — and social media feeds

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated on Monday that a geomagnetic storm watch was in effect, and has been extended into Tuesday. According to the agency, a solar flare last week launched a CME (coronal mass ejection) towards Earth, a space weather phenomenon full of magnetized plasma and particles which can all interact with Earth’s magnetic field.

This geomagnetic storm, labelled as G2, or a moderate storm, can cause powerful northern light shows even in regions that aren’t normally able to see them clearly.

In Canada, the lights were seen more widely and clearly in the western provinces, with residents in B.C. and Alberta flocking to social media to post photos of the lights.

A Facebook group dedicated to photos of the aurora borealis in Alberta was swamped with hundreds of photos.

One resident in Airdrie, Alta., said that they’d “lived here for 50 years and never seen them this bright under city lights.”

A green haze was visible even in Metro Vancouver, where light pollution would usually make it difficult to see anything detailed.

Other provinces and territories also reported seeing the lights, including Saskatchewan, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and all the way to Ontario.

Numerous U.S. states were also treated to the display Monday night.

Whether we will see the same bright lights Tuesday night isn’t known yet, but it might be worth having a look outside just in case.

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