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News / Clark County News

Photos: Clark County residents capture images of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights

Lights could be visible again Saturday night into Sunday morning

By Staff and Associated Press report
Published: May 11, 2024, 12:21pm
6 Photos
An image of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, taken early Saturday morning by Pamela Schram in La Center (Photo courtesy of Pamela Schram)
An image of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, taken early Saturday morning by Pamela Schram in La Center (Photo courtesy of Pamela Schram) Photo Gallery

The Northern Lights put on a show late Friday night and early Saturday morning, and several Clark County residents shared photos of the rare occurrence.

An unusually strong solar storm hitting Earth produced stunning displays of color in the skies across the Northern Hemisphere early Saturday, with no immediate reports of disruptions to power and communications.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a rare severe geomagnetic storm warning when a solar outburst reached Earth on Friday afternoon, hours sooner than anticipated. The effects of the Northern Lights, which were prominently on display in Britain, were due to last through the weekend and possibly into next week.

The lights could be visible again Saturday night into Sunday morning, with the best viewing time being between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., as that is the darkest time of the night. The lights could go on for a few minutes or a few hours, and are best viewed away from city lights.

NOAA alerted operators of power plants and spacecraft in orbit, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to take precautions.

“For most people here on planet Earth, they won’t have to do anything,” said Rob Steenburgh, a scientist with NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

The storm could produce northern lights as far south in the U.S. as Alabama and Northern California, NOAA said. But it was hard to predict and experts stressed it would not be the dramatic curtains of color normally associated with the northern lights, but more like splashes of greenish hues.

“That’s really the gift from space weather: the aurora,” Steenburgh said. He and his colleagues said the best aurora views may come from phone cameras, which are better at capturing light than the naked eye.

Snap a picture of the sky and “there might be actually a nice little treat there for you,” said Mike Bettwy, operations chief for the prediction center.

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