Home » Northern Lights Illuminate the Night Skies Around the World — and Are Expected to Continue Through the Weekend

Northern Lights Illuminate the Night Skies Around the World — and Are Expected to Continue Through the Weekend

For those who didn’t get a chance to check out the northern lights this weekend — there’s still time!

On Friday night, what was described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center as an “extreme geomagnetic storm” turned skies purple on a PGA golf course in Atlanta and took on similar hues in Arizona and various other spots across the globe.

Even celebrities are checked them out, as the Beckhams shared a few “incredible” images of their own view over the weekend.

The storm, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center, is expected to “persist through at least Sunday.”

The organization previously revealed before the weekend that it was monitoring the sun after a “series of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that began May 8.”

Northern lights spotted in Rochester, New York on May 11, 2024.

Lokman Vural Elibol/Anadolu via Getty

While the Space Weather Prediction Center noted on Friday, May 10, that the “extreme” G5 geomagnetic storm — which marks the strongest level of such — reached Earth at 6:54 p.m. EST on Friday, things aren’t over yet.

As CNN noted, researchers found solar flares erupting from the sun to be increasing in intensity, and increased solar activity causes both the northern and southern lights. Per USA Today, these auroras (or lights) move due to how the Sun’s ionized gases interact with the Earth’s magnetic field.

Northern lights spotted in Denmark on May 11, 2024.

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The NOAA also warned that the storm may cause “widespread voltage control problems and protective system problems,” the “complete collapse or blackouts” of grid systems and damage to transformers, per CBS News.

The last G5 geomagnetic storm of such magnitude, according to the center, took place in October 2003. The “extreme” G5 event that last took place caused power outages in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa.

The northern lights spotted in Whitley Bay, England on May 10, 2024.

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But it isn’t all bad news. Since the note from the NOAA, CBS News has reported that onlookers have seen the Northern Lights (or aurora borealis) as far south as Florida and Oklahoma, though New York City sadly missed out due to cloud cover.

The outlet notes that those interested in looking up at the sky can potentially check out the light show in parts of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and elsewhere on Saturday night, judging by the NOAA’s forecast map — with the National Weather Service sharing that they can be seen as far as 620 miles away.

With sightings also being reported in United Kingdom, Austria, Germany and beyond, people around the planet have continued to share their own pictures to social media — from beautiful purple and pink hues in Chippewa Falls to an assortment of greens and reds over in Ohio.

Michael Liemohn — a professor  at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — explained to CNN that those who want to catch a glimpse in Michigan can “get away from city lights to a place with clear skies and you should be able to see the green or red glow of aurora across the sky.”

The Blue Ridge Parkway NPS even shared a few local-submitted photos on Instagram as well, showing off a few darker colors that took over the skies in North Carolina and Virginia this week.

“A G5 Geomagnetic Storm was visible across the Parkway overnight, and many took advantage of this rare opportunity to view and take photos of the luminous phenomenon,” officials wrote. “Enjoy this amazing display as captured on camera by a few of our neighbors.”

The northern lights in San Francisco on May 11, 2024.

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu via Getty 

And if it’s hard to make out what’s going on in the sky with one’s naked eye, experts also recommend simply snapping some pictures.

“While photographing the Northern Lights is rewarding, take time to immerse yourself in the experience without any gadgets,” officials previously shared. “Sometimes, fond memories are the best capture.”