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Spectacular Northern Lights visible from Lorain

Images of Aurora Borealis captured by local man
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Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 27, 2023

LORAIN, Ohio — Lorain's Rob Campana captured a rare photo of the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights) after noticing picture-perfect clear skies across Northern Ohio on Sunday evening. With the conditions appearing to be perfect, he checked his space weather phone app (pictured below) to see if we were in for a celestial light show.

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"I check a few aurora apps every few days to see what the numbers looked like," he told Power of 5 Chief Meteorologist Mark Johnson.

What he saw got his blood pumping.

"I noticed how strong the numbers were and hurried up to the lake," Campana said.

The energy from a strong solar flare struck the earth, and those energy levels were rising. The possibility for an Aurora Borealis to be viewable as far south as Ohio was increasing quickly.

Campana jumped into his car and made the 3-mile journey north to Lorain's Lake Erie shoreline. That's where he struck gold ... or green and red, if you will. He grabbed his camera and started documenting an incredible display of the Northern Lights.

"The first wave started at 9:30 p.m. and lasted until 11:30," he said. "The second wave went from 1 o'clock until about 3:30 a.m. this morning."

His video shows it all. Bright red colors over faint green. The yellow glow at the surface is the distant light from greenhouse farmers in Southern Ontario.

Watch Rob's great video here:

Northern Lights

Auroras look like wavy fluorescent lights in the northern sky. They occur when the sun burps out a massive amount of energy called a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) or Solar Flare. If this CME is directed toward our planet, the Earth's magnetic shield directs much of this energy toward the north and south poles. There it interacts with oxygen and nitrogen to produce the spectacular colors that we know as the Northern Lights. Oxygen gives off green and red light. Nitrogen will show off blue and purple hues.

Most of the time, the auroras are not strong enough to be seen in Ohio, but every so often a super strong solar flare will hit the earth with enough energy to produce bigger auroras viewable in our area.

Campana believes more auroras are coming.

"They are calling for strong aurora storms again tonight. But our conditions won't be good for viewing them," he said.

Tonight's forecast calls for rain and clouds.

So, for now, we will just have to watch Rob's great video instead.

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