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A Nighttime Treat As Aurora Borealis Lit Up The Sky

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Sonora, CA – Those in the Northern Hemisphere and right here in the Mother Lode experienced an epic display of the luminous northern lights overnight due to a severe solar storm.

The picture in the image box shows the red sky in the Columbia area around 10 last night. Robert Townsend took the photos. He says, “The sky to the west had a red shimmer to it. Reds gave way to purples and greens later into the evening, a little past midnight.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a rare geomagnetic storm watch, the first in nearly 20 years. The sun produced strong solar flares, resulting in five outbursts of plasma capable of disrupting satellites and power grids on Earth. Each eruption, known as a coronal mass ejection, can contain billions of tons of plasma and magnetic field from the sun’s outer atmosphere. These geomagnetic storms can produce stronger aurora borealis lights, which usually occur at the poles, but space weather can cause the lights to expand into the northern edge of the U.S. NOAA predicts that these storms could become more frequent over the next year as the sun moves into the solar maximum phase of its 11-year cycle.

  • Northern lights seen from Columbia
  • Northern lights seen from Columbia