space weather

Last Night the Aurora Borealis Was Visible in New York City

Aurora Borealis as seen on June 22 from Central Virginia. Photo: David Murr/Flickr

Last night, thanks to what was essentially a perfect storm of solar-energy events, the Aurora Borealis was visible throughout much of the Northeast, with faint traces of the phenomenon here in New York City and as far south as Texas. The cause was a severe geomagnetic storm, which hit 8 on a 9-point scale, and was the result of a multi-part solar explosion, as Slate meteorologist Eric Holthaus excitedly explained yesterday:

On Sunday, the summer solstice, a major explosion on the sun propelled a coronal mass ejection toward Earth at about 4 million miles per hour. It then swept up two smaller, slower coronal mass ejections from last week, creating one big smorgasbord of geomagnetic exuberance.  The whole mess reached Earth on Monday afternoon with a bit more energy than expected.

Thankfully the storm wasn’t strong enough to cause much havoc on our technology, save a low-power radio outage yesterday. Here are some shots of the event that were shared on social media from around the Northeast and beyond:

Browse many more images of last night’s northern lights here. Another solar storm is predicted for Wednesday night, but it’s not clear how strong it will be.

Aurora Borealis Lights Up the Northeast