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Solar Flares Bring Northern Lights To Oregon Sky

The Pacific Northwest, the northern Plains and New England will get a special Northern Lights show in the sky Thursday and Friday night.

Now, you might be thinking that we’re too far south for the natural phenomenon, but two large solar flares straight out of the middle of the sun are making it possible.

USA Today reports that our area will have some of the best views on Friday, but some auroras may be visible starting tonight. The Northern Lights light up the sky when atoms in the atmosphere collide with particles from the sun, appearing as green waves, and occasionally red, blue and purple.

Weather reports show clear skies for the next few days, which should make viewing the lights easier. 

The AP reports that it’s been quite a few years since Earth has experienced a solar storm of this magnitude. The two solar flares are expected to shift the Earth’s magnetic field, which can affect power grids in various cities.

There’s potential for disruptions in satellites and radio transmissions. But problems should be minimal with your weekend radio shows, and everything should be back on track for OPB’s Sunday Weekend Edition.

Here’s a pretty cool video of the Northern Lights above Crater Lake from 2013 — I can only hope that my view from Portland is half as beautiful.

Northern Lights solar flare aurora

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