Fraser Valley stargazers were treated to a rare and electrifying treat this weekend.
As the result of a powerful solar flare on July 12, skywatchers had the chance to see the aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. The light display, which was best seen outside Metro Vancouver due to a lack of light pollution, lit up the night sky with a shimmering display of blue, yellow, purple and green.
According to Northern Lights Centre, the bright dancing lights of the aurora occur when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
Last week’s solar flare created a geomagnetic storm that struck the atmosphere particularly hard, and produced striking views of the aurora.
“[The aurora borealis] was quite bright out here in the [Fraser] Valley, but if you were in a light-polluted situation, you would never notice it. It’s almost impossible,” said Paul Greenhalgh, president of the Fraser Valley Astronomers Society.
Greenhalgh, who watched the flares from Abbotsford’s McDonald Park with several others, says the light display started about 11:30 p.m. and lasted until 3 a.m.