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Port Alberni residents capture images of aurora borealis

Light show a rare one in the Alberni Valley

Thousands of people in the Alberni-Clayoquot region experienced a weather phenomenon last weekend that is rarely seen this far south: the aurora borealis.

Space Weather Canada refers to the northern lights, or aurora borealis, as a “spectacular, colourful display of light commonly seen in the night sky in the northern hemisphere.” The lights are usually seen in northern Canada with the exception of during high solar activity.

Friday night the lights were visible for more than an hour starting at 11 p.m. Green, yellow, red and pink lights danced across the sky.

Red is not often seen, especially this far south, except during intense solar activity. The most rare colours for the northern lights are deep blue or purple, according to experts at Perlan, a museum in Reykjavik, Iceland.

READ: Raging solar storm could turn northern lights into a B.C.-wide show

Reports of where the lights were visible in the Alberni Valley varied. Alberni Valley News employees said they were able to watch the lights from their backyard, as long as there was little light pollution. Other people reported that the lights were still visible from inside the city.

Alberni Valley News editor Susie Quinn was camping at Cox Bay in Tofino, where dozens of people—including those attending a district-wide Girl Guide camp at Surf Grove—witnessed the spectacular display.

While estimates were that the aurora would also be visible Saturday night, they never materialized. There are several aurora apps available for smart phones that people use to track aurora activity. Space Weather Canada also monitors geomagnetic activity and shows auroral activity in real time.

—With files from Lauren McNeil, Black Press Media

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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