We received both a video (courtesy James Davenport) and a photo (courtesy Tom St. John) of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) that was on display over Edmonds Monday night.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website, “the aurora is the result of electrons colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. (Protons cause faint and diffuse aurora, usually not easily visible to the human eye.) The electrons are energized through acceleration processes in the downwind tail (night side) of the magnetosphere and at lower altitudes along auroral field lines.”
According to SpaceWeather.com, the northern lights were predicted to be visible in some parts of the northern U.S. Monday night, due to a geomagnetic storm.
“Often the auroral forms are made of many tall rays that look much like a curtain made of folds of cloth,” NOAA explained. “During the evening, these rays can form arcs that stretch from horizon to horizon. Late in the evening, near midnight, the arcs often begin to twist and sway, just as if a wind were blowing on the curtains of light. At some point, the arcs may expand to fill the whole sky, moving rapidly and becoming very bright. This is the peak of what is called an auroral substorm.”
Davenport said in his YouTube post that Monday night’s viewing was his first time seeing the Aurora Borealis.
“I was stunned at how vivid and dynamic the lights were, moving 10-20 degrees in a matter of seconds across the sky, with some faint red and green visible to the eye,” he said.