Wyoming may get a rare aurora borealis light show

Wyoming may get a rare aurora borealis light show

It’s exciting and beautiful when the sun steals the show in the night sky. It’s also rare for the aurora to be visible as far south as Wyoming, but the Cowboy State has seen several of these unique events so far this year.

In the early morning hours. On Tuesday, Wyoming residents enjoyed a stunning display of the aurora borealis with its bright green colors and purple streaks. Thanks to a new cycle of solar energy, there have been several similar incidents like this in the past few months, a rare treat for a region so far south of the Arctic.

Those who missed it may reappear early Wednesday morning, but perhaps not with the same intensity as Tuesdays, the University of Alaska Institute of Geophysics reported.

Marilyn Schmucker didn’t miss any of the light shows this year. She has a special place a few miles from her home in Newcastle where she goes in anticipation of a good aurora display.

Even by the high standards set by other sightings, this latest sighting was exceptional.

“There were two STEVES and a lot of lines,” she told Cowboy State Daily.

STEVE stands for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement. It is an airglow caused by the interaction of solar plasma with the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetosphere. Despite its association with the aurora borealis, Steve’s sighting is very rare.

This phenomenon contributed to the appearance of the distinctive lines that Schmucker captured in her photos, and she said that she did not have to wake up or stay up late to watch this show.

“I went out just after dark and it was over by 10pm (Monday),” she said. “In some other cases (this year), I went out around 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.”

Difficult but wonderful

Don Day, a meteorologist with Cowboy State Daily, said the aurora borealis does not depend on temperature or season. It is the interaction between energy coming from the Sun and the Earth’s atmosphere.

“When it ended up in the path of a coronal mass ejection (CME), a solar flare was directed toward Earth,” he said. “We ended up going one way last night. You need a fairly strong force to get as far south as Wyoming, which is what happened last night.”

The sun recently entered a new solar cycle, resulting in several episodes of aurora borealis in Wyoming this year. Day said it was fortunate that there were so many good performances, especially since there is no reliable way to predict how good everything will be once it arrives.

“This stuff is really, really hard,” he said. “A lot of times, they’re predicted, but they fail. Other times, they’re not predicted well, or you’ll get an aurora that no one really expected. It’s not an exact science to determine these things.”

The unpredictability of the aurora borealis in Wyoming makes it a must-see event. There may be little warning before the next event, and conditions must be precise for a good showing. After all, each coronal mass travels 93 million miles from the Sun to Earth as both objects move through space.

“Everything is moving,” he said. “It’s not a straight line. You have to know all the physics to know if a solar flare will hit the Earth at night when you can see it as the Earth orbits the sun. It’s very difficult to arrange everything.”

Even Day agreed that the last show was particularly good.

She said Schmucker was happy with the offer, but each was different. This is what motivates her to always get out with her camera whenever there is news of the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights.

“It’s always different in color and shape, so it’s fun to go out and see what it’s going to be like,” she said.

one more night?

The Sun’s most recent coronal ejection is still in the vicinity of Earth. Day said there may be another chance to see the aurora borealis in Wyoming during Tuesday night and early Wednesday. There may also be nothing to see for much longer.

“Tonight, there may be an Aurora again,” he said Tuesday. “Or maybe they peaked last night. By tomorrow night, they will be finished because the sun’s influence will have made its way. It’s not an exact science.”

Marilyn Schmucker took this photo of the rare aurora borealis in Wyoming late Monday near her home in Newcastle. (Photo courtesy of Marilyn Schmucker)

#Wyoming #rare #aurora #borealis #light #show