A spectacle of the skies

Friday night into Saturday morning was a spectacle of the skies, even those within the city limits and outside of direct light, as the aurora borealis or northern lights put on a show for all to see.

People as far south as the Bahamas and southern California were able to see them outside of light polluted areas. Even within the Twin Cities metropolitan area the aurora was visible to the naked eye.

It was a G5 solar storm, the highest level from the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). According to the SWPC, G5 storms are only experienced about four times during a solar cycle, which is 11 years. That makes this event a once in every two-and-a-quarter year event, and the strongest we have seen in this area since 2003.

Solar storms can cause blackouts and other radio interference problems, jeopardizing the power and communication systems we use. Other than some farmers having issues with navigational equipment, no widespread issues were noted in the area for this storm.

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