People from Montana to Missouri reported seeing the aurora borealis overnight, and meteorologists said the phenomenon also known as the northern lights will be visible over parts of the West and Midwest until around dawn Tuesday.
The northern lights got their name for illuminating the sky at high latitudes. On Monday night, the phenomenon stained the night sky with green and purple spots in some parts of the United States, and red or purple plumes or curtains in other areas.
“Most of the time, when the northern lights happen, it’s just a kind of green glow on the northern horizon.” Grant Hicks, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s office in Glasgow, Montreal, where staff were based, said. to publish Pictures of the Northern Lights overnight.
“Once you see the columns and the curtains, and they start dancing and moving, it can be a lot more fun to watch,” Hicks said, speaking by phone early Tuesday morning.
Sometimes the northern lights can only be seen with the help of a camera. But Tyler Schlitt, a part-time photographer who lives near St. Louis, said by phone that these images were already “highly visible” to the naked eye in part of eastern Missouri on Monday evening.
“Some people might mistake them for clouds or something like that,” said Schlitt, 32, from a field near Elsbury, Missouri. “But if you have a good view of the aurora, you’re more likely to see the aurora.”
There were numerous other reports overnight of aurora sightings by photographers and social media users across the American West and Midwest, as well as in parts of Canada and Britain.
The Space Weather Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, did this He said earlier A “moderate” magnetic storm is expected to occur in the northern United States late Monday into Tuesday. “Strong” geomagnetic activity is occurring, meaning the northern lights “may be seen as low as Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon,” she said in a new warning early Tuesday morning.
Space weather experts believe the geomagnetic storm may have been caused by a volcanic eruption on the Sun late last week that led to a “coronal mass ejection,” the technical term for a large ejection of plasma and magnetic field.
Space weather experts measure geomagnetic disturbances on a five-level scale that predicts minor, moderate, strong, severe and extreme impacts on power grids, satellites and other things. The higher the level, the northern lights tend to appear further south. In the event of a strong or extreme disturbance, they could be seen as far south as Florida, said William Murtagh, program coordinator at the Space Weather Prediction Center.
Although the worst of the recent disturbances is likely over, it is possible that it will continue to produce auroras that can be seen with the naked eye over some northern states, Murtagh said in an email just after 2 a.m. ET Tuesday.
“Instability at active levels of geomagnetic activity” will likely continue through Wednesday, said the center’s project manager, Lt. Brian R. Brasher. But he said it was unlikely that the aurora borealis would be visible as far south on Tuesday evening as it did late Monday.
The red plumes he saw earlier in the evening have since faded, Mr. Schlitt, the Missouri photographer, said by phone at about 11 p.m. Monday. He said he had a 90-minute drive home and an early workday ahead of him, so he planned to pack soon — unless the colors on his camera screen suddenly became more intense.
“If I see a whole bunch, I’ll stay out a little later,” he said.