Rare solar storm creates dazzling views of aurora borealis
Published Sunday, May 28, 2017 2:19PM PDT Last Updated Sunday, May 28, 2017 5:51PM PDT
A large geomagnetic solar storm visible over the Vancouver area created a stunning opportunity for stargazers and photographers to catch rare a glimpse of the aurora borealis.
The northern lights are a result of a coronal mass ejection – or CME – hitting earth's magnetic field on Saturday, reported SpaceWeather.com.
"As Earth passed through the CME's wake, energetic particles poured through a crack in Earth's magnetosphere, sparking strong G3-class geomagnetic storms and bright auroras," the site reported.
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During the celestial event, the lights could be seen as far south as California and Arizona, and as far east as Ontario and Cape Cod, with shades of pink, purple and green lighting up the skies.
Vancouver photographer Andrew Lawrence captured the eerie bright green glow when he was at Kitsilano Beach taking pictures of the sunset. But he almost missed it.
"Incidentally, I had been ignoring the strong aurora forecast alerts on my phone I had been getting all day because the aurora are so rarely seen over Vancouver due to all of the light pollution," he wrote on Instagram.
"I was about to pack up and in the last photo I had planned to shoot I noticed a green glow. Needless to say the night's plan quickly changed."
SpaceWeather.com said that although the "magnetic field is quieting," there is a lingering chance that auroras may be visible again after nightfall Sunday.