Aurora Borealis Puts on a Spectacular Show Around Alaska
Solar Flare Creates Sky Show
ALASKA - Fans of the aurora borealis are getting a spectacular gift from Mother Nature and all they need to do to receive it is look up.
Scientists say a huge solar storm is producing some of the best northern lights displays in years.
Photographer Daryl Pederson has been chasing the northern lights for nearly 30 years and says he’s taken photographs of the display this week that rival some of his best. Scientists aren’t surprised and say a powerful solar flare is responsible.
“It’s basically a reordering of the magnetic fields on the surface of the sun and that causes it to be very violent and erupt,” said UAA astronomy professor Andy Puckett.
According to Puckett, when the charged particles enter the earth’s atmosphere and interact with our own magnetic fields it can produce spectacular displays of the northern lights.
Thursday evening is expected to be a great night for viewing the lights with a show that could begin as early as sundown.
Puckett says the display is likely to be much more visible for months, even years to come. He says the sun has entered a high point of activity that occurs every eleven years with a peak expected sometime in the summer of 2013.
In the meantime, the increased solar activity could have an effect on communications satellites. GCI says this most recent activity does not appear to have any effect, but they will continue to keep their eye on the situation.