Photo: Rare Northern Lights Seen In Southern California Due To Geomagnetic Storm

northern-lights

Over the weekend, a powerful geomagnetic storm swept through Southern California, offering a rare opportunity for some residents to witness the elusive Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, typically adorn the night sky with vibrant displays of pink, green, and red hues. However, this time, the spectacle reached as far south as San Bernardino County due to the intensity of the storm, which marked the strongest occurrence in nearly two decades.

While the phenomenon was more prominently visible in northern regions of the United States, adventurous individuals who journeyed to desert or mountainous areas were rewarded with a glimpse of this extraordinary event.


“It was amazing,” said Brandy Carlos, a Cherry Valley resident who is known as @FirePhotoGirl on X. “I don’t even know how to explain it. I’ve never seen it before, that was my first time and the fact that we even got to see it here in Southern California, I mean, it was incredible.”

One such individual, Carlos, seized the opportunity after hearing about the rarity. She embarked on a journey, driving north on the 15 Freeway until reaching a remote spot just outside Barstow.

The geomagnetic storm is forecasted to persist through Sunday, potentially providing additional chances for witnessing this remarkable occurrence, typically confined to regions like Alaska, Canada, and northern Europe.

“We have a fleet of CMEs coming in, as you know these coronal mass ejections of material from the sun,” said Shawn Dahl with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which announced that the Aurora Borealis would be visible over the weekend. “We’re not sure if they’ve all come through yet, and we’re still on the waning edge as they pass by, so tonight we’re not sure what to expect.”

Solar storms originate from colossal eruptions on the sun’s surface, propelling streams of charged particles towards Earth. Upon interacting with the planet’s magnetic field, these particles generate a geomagnetic storm.

While such storms have the capacity to disrupt various systems, including communications, GPS, power grids, and satellites globally, governmental authorities have reported no significant issues thus far. However, monitoring of the situation remains vigilant.