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Washington Residents Amazed by Aurora Borealis Sighting – Photos & Video

northern-lights

For residents of Washington, the Northern Lights sightings on Friday night were truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, there’s good news for those who missed it: there’s a second chance to witness the colorful spectacle tonight.

A powerful solar storm resulted in breathtaking views of the Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis, across the state and much of the country. These celestial displays were visible from around 10 p.m. on Friday until the early hours of Saturday morning.

The phenomenon occurs when electrons, trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field, are accelerated by the solar wind and collide with atoms in the atmosphere, creating a ring of light centered on the Earth’s magnetic pole. This explanation comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Forecast Center.

Geomagnetic conditions are classified on a scale ranging from G1 (minor) to G5 (extreme). According to KING 5 Meteorologist Leah Pezzetti, Friday night’s storm was rated a G5, a level of intensity not seen in the area since October 2003.

Saturday night’s solar storm is forecasted to be slightly less intense, rated as a G4, meaning that the viewing experience should be similar to what was witnessed the previous night.

The National Weather Service has issued a Special Weather Statement for all of Washington, advising that the geomagnetic conditions are expected to persist throughout the weekend. It’s important to note that extreme solar storms have the potential to cause power or communications system disruptions.

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