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 Sky watchers in awe of vivid northern lights display over much of Michigan

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PostSubject: Sky watchers in awe of vivid northern lights display over much of Michigan   Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:46 pm



Last Updated: October 25. 2011 5:47PM
Sky watchers in awe of vivid northern lights display over much of Michigan
The Detroit News

Sky watchers around Michigan and farther south, were treated to a spectacularly vivid show of the northern lights, or aurora borealis, over much of the state Monday night.

Emissions of solar plasma from the sun started hitting the earth at about 2 p.m., sparking a geomagnetic storm, according to spaceweather.com. It produced vivid red, green and white swaths of color in the sky, according to many observers.

"It was as great as I've ever seen them. Stunning, exhilarating," said photographer Shawn Malone, owner of Lake Superior Photo in Marquette, whose pictures accompany this article. "I had to pick my jaw up off the ground."

Malone has been shooting the lights over Lake Superior for more than 10 years.

The northern lights were visible around the globe and as far south as Arkansas in the continental U.S. Many areas of Michigan got a great display.

Social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook helped spread the word for enthusiasts to go outdoors and get a glimpse. The Detroit News tweeted about the display around 10 p.m. to alert its followers on twitter.com.

The aurora is created when the electrically charged particles from the sun collide with gases at high altitudes in the earth's atmosphere. Collisions with different gases at different altitudes vary the color of the lights.

Typically, Michigan residents viewing the lights are treated to displays of vivid green. But Monday's show included bursts of red as well.

"The green colors occur lower in the atmosphere, at about 100 kilometers above the surface," said Richard Walker, a specialist at Flint's Longway Planetarium. "The reds are much rarer. They occur in the atmosphere around 300 to 500 kilometers up."

Don't expect a repeat of the vivid show Tuesday night, spaceweather.com warns. The storm is subsiding already, and there's only a chance of some display later Tuesday.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20111025/METRO/110250393/Sky-watchers-in-awe-of-vivid-northern-lights-display-over-much-of-Michigan#ixzz1bqsONbcA


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PostSubject: Re: Sky watchers in awe of vivid northern lights display over much of Michigan   Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:50 pm

Northern lights over the UP

An auroal curtain fires up the sky over Lake Superior in Marquette on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011.

Shawn Malone / Lake Superior Photo














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