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Aurora Borealis Treats Wyoming, Much Of The United States, To A Rare Night Show

Aurora Borealis Outside of Cody, WY

Residents of Park County who were up and outside either Friday or Saturday night were treated to a rare, awe-inspiring light show that hasn’t occurred in over two decades.

Aurora Borealis outside of Badger Basin.
Aurora Borealis outside of Badger Basin. (Photo courtesy of Mac Watson).
Aurora Borealis Cook City
The Aurora Borealis puts on a spectacular show for a person outside of Cook City, MT. (Photo courtesy of Facebook).

The Aurora Borealis was in full view for many to see from Wyoming, down to Arizona.  Even people on the east coast, as far south as South Florida, could witness the astronomical events.

Peak visibility time both nights (if there weren’t clouds in the sky) were “between 9 p.m. and midnight, with some chance until 2 a.m.,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Tom Kines said. The best views will be in dark areas away from the light pollution of cities, he said, though some reported seeing the auroras Friday night from metro areas like Milwaukee and Detroit.

Aurora Borealis Clark, WY
Aurora Borealis Clark, WY. (Photo courtesy of Facebook).

The Aurora Borealis is usually only seen above the Artic Circle, at night, in places like Alaska, Scandinavia, and Greenland.

According to NASA, Auroras are brilliant ribbons of light that weave across Earth’s northern and southern polar regions. These natural light shows are caused by magnetic storms that are triggered by solar activity, such as solar flares (which are explosions on the Sun) or coronal mass ejections (ejected gas bubbles). These charged particles are carried from the Sun by the solar wind.  When the particles enter Earth’s magnetosphere, they cause substorms. As the substorms interact with Earth’s atmosphere, the friction causes each atom to glow in an array of different colors and look like bands that stretch across the sky.

Aurora Borealis, Buffalo Bill Dam
The night sky is lit up by the Aurora Borealis near the Buffalo Bill Dam, Cody, WY. (Photo courtesy of Schuler Bailey).

But the beautiful light show that dazzled the night sky also had the possibility of damaging some key essentials to modern life; mainly electronic devices and power grids.

Aurora Borealis, near the Buffalo Bill Dam, Cody, WY. (Photo courtesy of Schuler Bailey).
Something that hasn’t been seen in over two decades, cloaked most of the United States this past weekend. This photo was taken near the Buffalo Bill Dam outside of Cody, WY. (Photo courtesy of Schuler Bailey).

The Department of Defense issued a text alert saying, “We are closely tracking a rare geomagnetic storm that may disrupt essential services.  Possible disruptions include Power, GPS, vehicle telematics, and internet [service]. To prepare: Keep a flashlight and extra batteries on hand, avoid electronic devices during the storm, and have a backup power source.”

Forecasters say the cosmic phenomenon could stretch into the upcoming week.

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