“The happiness of photons”: Sask. Astronomical enthusiast says Monday’s northern lights are “a gift”

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SASKATOON –

The skies put on a dazzling spectacle on Monday night with the Northern Lights illuminating most of central and northern Saskatchewan.

Amateur astronomer Ron Waldron said conditions were perfect for the display, which appeared around 9 p.m. and was most spectacular at 10 p.m.

He called Monday’s show “photonic happiness.”

“What made this one special was the strength of the coronal mass ejection and the fact that we had a clear sky and the moon had set at the time of display. The moon is trending to clear the weaker auroras, but she was already going to bed when that posting started, ”Waldron told CTV News.

The astronomy aficionado said the rare sighting occurs when the solar wind is thrown from the sun and then interacts with the upper atmosphere and the oxygen atoms fluoresce.

What we can see from Earth is the interaction of the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field.

Only those north of the 49th parallel can witness it, which makes it more elusive and special, according to Waldron.

“Each display is different. It’s even better than looking at a kaleidoscope because even the screens repeat themselves in a kaleidoscope.

“Every time you see the Northern Lights, the shapes are totally different because they follow the magnetic lines of the magnetic field,” he says.

This display mainly featured auroral arcs which are U-shaped displays with a few Aurora bands which are vertical spikes.

He says NASA issued an alert about 48 hours before Monday night, giving him time to set up his equipment.

Waldron says this enlightening spectacle was swift and while it can be enjoyed with the naked eye, the high-tech digital equipment was able to capture the beauty in even greater detail.

Saskatoon had a brilliant show to watch, but the show got even better further north because it’s higher in the sky, according to Waldron.

He says the last big show was in 2015 around the same time of year, but it wasn’t as accessible as this one as it happened at 4 a.m.

“Last night was a giveaway because you didn’t have to wait that long. It happened when everyone was on their feet and the sky cleared up, ”he said.

Waldron says the show will continue Tuesday night between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., but likely won’t be as impressive.


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