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Northern lights dance above Golden

Residents saw quite the show Thursday night
Trina Wolfenden captured this photo of the northern lights on March 23.

Residents of Golden were treated to a light show Thursday night (March 24).

Aurora Borealis, lit up the skies of the Golden area, stretching down towards Fernie and north to Prince George and even over the Spanish Banks in Vancouver.

Trina Wolfenden captures several photos of the North Lights above Golden, while Wendy Chambers witnesses a beautiful streak of green and purple of Blueberry.

Last year, scientists said people in B.C. can expect to see more aurora borealis over the next three years as the sun reaches a significant date on its calendar.

Aurora borealis, a Latin phrase meaning ‘dawn of the north’, is created when an eruption occurs on the sun, shooting a solar flare full of magnetic solar particles through the void of space. When the charged particles of electrons and protons from that flare are fired directly at the earth, they interact with the elements in the earth’s atmosphere.

The interaction, known as a geomagnetic disturbance between the sun’s energetic radiation particles and the elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen in the atmosphere, creates the vibrant reds, greens, and purples that are seen from the surface of the earth.

Wendy Chambers captured this photo of the northern lights on March 23.
Wendy Chambers captured this photo of the northern lights on March 23.

According to Bill Murtagh, Program Coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Centre, the sun’s magnetic poles switch approximately every 11 years. Murtagh said that during this solar cycle when the flip in poles is happening, the magnetic fields of the sun get all twisted and distorted, creating sunspots that eventually turn into eruptions.

According to Murtagh when the poles get established, all is quiet. This period in the sun’s cycle is called a solar minimum. From 2019 to 2021, the sun was in the minimum stage of its cycle.

Now, the sun is ramping up towards its most unstable magnetic phase, the solar maximum, which scientists predict will peak in 2025.

Last month the Okanagan was treated to the northern lights, however, this time residents there were not so lucky to catch the show.

READ MORE: B.C. skies to come alive with more northern lights in the next 3 years: Scientists

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