Parts of Canada treated to stunning display of northern lights


Aurora borealis put on quite the show Tuesday night.

While most of Canada was tucked in bed, a vivid aurora borealis sent teal, green, purple and pink hues shimmering across the sky.

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The lights are created when charged particles that emanate from the sun move through space and hit the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Photos, videos and reports indicate northern lights were seen across the Prairies and even into Ontario.

Albertans who want to receive a heads-up on northern lights can sign up for AuroraWatch email alerts.

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Meet the aurora borealis chasers in Alberta: ‘It’s like nothing else in the world’

The AuroraWatch website is a passion project run by a team at the University of Alberta’s department of physics, providing a real-time monitor of geomagnetic activity in the Edmonton area — though it says larger activity can be seen Alberta-wide.

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The further north a person is, though, the better the chance they will see the lights due to being closer to what’s called the “auroral oval,” explained U of A research associate Andy Kale who runs the AuroraWatch program.

The oval is usually centred around the Earth’s magnetic north and south poles but can expand during periods of intense solar activity.

Kale said the different hues of the aurora are caused by interactions with different gases at different altitudes.

The most commonly seen greenish hue is caused by oxygen atoms that hit the atmosphere about 100 kilometres above the earth, he said.

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Northern lights seen on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Waskatenau, Alta.

Supplied: James Littlechilds

Northern lights seen in Vegreville, Alta., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Supplied: Jessica Nedeljak

Northern lights seen in Parkland County on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Northern lights seen in Parkland County on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

Supplied: Karen Michener

Northern lights seen on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Grasslands, Alta.

Supplied: Susan Pretula

— with files from Karen Bartko, Global News

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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