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Northern Lights Shine Over New England Friday Night

A very strong geomagnetic storm (the strongest since 2003, this one was possibly stronger than that one) brought the northern lights to all of New England Friday night. In fact, areas much farther south than New England were able to see them as well. There were reports of the lights showing up as far south as Texas! This geomagnetic storm was rated as a G5, which is the strongest rating (the scale runs from 1 to 5, similar to hurricanes). Despite this rating, there have been no immediate reports of major disruption as of Saturday morning.

Aiding in the display was the fact that the sun is nearing solar maximum, the peak of its 11-year cycle. This helped produce X-Class flares, the most powerful type. The most powerful solar storm documented in history was the "Carrington Event" in September of 1859. An extreme solar storm in July of 2012 may have been as strong as the 1859 event, but it missed earth.

The northern lights became visible not long after dark across northern Maine. The lights proceeded to drop south until reports came in from across all of northern New England and Massachusetts. Connecticut and Rhode Island followed shortly after. Reds, purples and greens glowed through the night sky. Viewing was variable, with some areas having a much easier time seeing them with the naked eye while others had to rely on long-exposure photos.

Clouds did threaten the show, but there were enough breaks in the cover across New England to capture the Aurora Borealis. Here are some of the sights from around New England. This came just over a month after New England was treated to another stunning space spectacle: the total solar eclipse.

New England Storm Center's Aurora Borealis view in New Hampshire:

Shots from around New England:

Mt. Katahdin, Maine (Boston & Maine Live)

Presque Isle, Maine (NWS Caribou)

Durham, Maine (James Sinko)

Scarborough, Maine (DeAna Morton)

York, Maine (Rob Wright Images)

Mt. Mansfield, Vermont (Jason Korver)

Vermont (Mitch @VermonsterWx)

Rockport, Massachusetts (Thomas Silas)

Beverly, Massachusetts (Jon Latorella)

Hull, Massachusetts (Huong Truong)

Sturbridge, Massachusetts (Rob Lightbown)

Tolland, Connecticut (Logan Raasumaa):

Stamford, Connecticut:

Salem, Connecticut (Michelle Neddo)

Barkhamsted, Connecticut (Dan Butler)

Scituate, Rhode Island (Travel Photo)



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