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Alberta aurora watchers treated to stunning Northern Lights display

Parts of northcentral Alberta were awash in purple, pink, teal and green hues Monday night, in a gorgeous display of aurora borealis.

The University of Alberta’s AuroraWatch group plotted the geomagnetic activity in the Edmonton region very high between 9 p.m. and midnight MST.

The group said there was a higher than 70 per cent probability of auroral displays at that time.

University of Alberta's Aurora Watch plots geomagnetic activity for the Edmonton region on Sept. 18, 2023.
University of Alberta’s Aurora Watch plots geomagnetic activity for the Edmonton region on Sept. 18, 2023. Courtesy: Aurora Watch

Watchers were not disappointed.

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Northern Lights were reported near Fort Saskatchewan, Drayton Valley, St. Albert and Sturgeon County.

Aurora Borealis seen in Sturgeon County, Alta., on Monday, Sept. 19, 2023. Courtesy: Rhonda Mayers

AuroraWatch provides real-time monitoring of geomagnetic activity in the Edmonton area and offers a free email alert service when auroral displays are likely.

The group also offers tips on how best to watch aurora borealis:

  • look north after dark
  • just around or before midnight is prime
  • get out of the city to escape light pollution
Aurora Borealis seen in Spirit River, Alta., on Monday, Sept. 19, 2023. Courtesy: Tonya Davison

The lights are created by charged particles that emanate from the sun, move through space and hit the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Global News meteorologist Ross Hull said a coronal hole developed in the sun. It’s a cooler, less dense region that can allow solar winds to escape more easily towards earth.

“As they move towards earth, the solar winds interact with our geomagnetic field (which protects our planet from such events) and these geomagnetic events have different intensity levels,” Hull said.

The lights move because the charged particles buckle Earth’s magnetic shield.

Aurora Borealis seen in Spruce Grove, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Victoria Lang
Aurora Borealis seen in Sturgeon County, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Rhonda Klaszus
Aurora Borealis seen in St. Albert, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Myranda Clapp
Aurora Borealis seen east of Edmonton, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Miles Maldaner
Aurora Borealis seen east of Edmonton, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Miles Maldaner
Aurora Borealis seen in Hiller Reservoir, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Matt Melnyk
Northern Lights in Alberta.
Aurora Borealis seen in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Janice Malowany
Aurora Borealis seen in Marlboro, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Madison Rhodes
Aurora Borealis seen in Hiller Reservoir, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Matt Melnyk
Aurora Borealis seen in Grande Cache, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Haleigh Mines
Aurora Borealis seen in Lone Pine, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Brogan Bridgeman
Aurora Borealis seen in St. Albert, Alta., on Monday night. Courtesy: Angela Paik

— with files from Karen Bartko, Global News

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&© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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