• Sky-gazers capture brilliant aurora borealis over W. Washington

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff


    Some sky-gazers in the Northwest landed the rare chance to spot the aurora borealis over the weekend.

    Photographers shared images with KIRO 7 of the northern lights over Washington in areas ranging from Anacortes to the North Cascades.

    >> See photos of the northern lights over the weekend here.

    The aurora borealis -- the northern lights -- is a region of charged gases in the ionosphere, a region around 50 miles above the Earth's surface. These gases give off light from green to orange to red, depending on the type of gas being excited by the charged solar particles.

    Watch video below, scroll down to read how the show happened.

    The National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued
    a geomagnetic storm watch for Sunday and Monday.

    Last week, a huge sunspot erupted on the surface of our
    sun, and an enormous solar flare -- which is an explosion -- ejected from the area. This explosion produced what scientists call a coronal mass ejection.

    The energy had the potential to spark a geomagnetic storm and resulted in brilliant auroras.



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