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Northern Lights dazzle over Bay Area skies as solar storm continues Sunday night

Autor: ABC7 San Francisco

SUNDAY

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The Bay Area may have another chance to see the Northern Lights on Sunday night.

A strong solar storm keeps getting more intense.

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center says it looks like the storm could hit a second peak Sunday night.

The earlier peak Friday night made the Aurora Borealis visible across the Bay Area and around the world — even as far south as Florida.

The forecasts aren’t calling for it to stretch as far Sunday.

NOAA is still warning about potential impacts to the electric grid.

“The particular sunspot we are looking at closely now is 15 times the size of Earth, so it is huge. We observed the eruptions, recognized they were going to impact Earth, so we were able to give the power grid and other technology owners a heads up,” said Bill Murtagh with NOAA.

Your best bet to see those glowing green, pink and purple lights is to get away from city lights and hope for clear skies.

SATURDAY

If you were lucky overnight, you might have seen the Northern Lights in the Bay Area Friday Night.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Northern Lights may be visible in parts of California overnight due to strong solar storm

Images of the celestial spectacle were captured in Yountville, Santa Clara County and even in San Francisco.

VIDEO: Incredible timelapse captures Northern Lights over NorCal

Timelapse video from photographer Brian Fulda captures the Northern Lights as they dazzled stargazers over Blue Canyon, California.

One of the strongest solar storms in decades is behind the light show.

Another chance to see Northern Lights

On Saturday morning, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center announced on X that geomagnetic storm conditions will continue through at least Sunday and that the aurora spectacle may be visible again across the U.S., weather permitting.

The Northern Lights dazzle above the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

The Northern Lights dazzle above the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

Hugo Lageneste/@hugolgst

Bay Area families make trek to see Northern Lights

Families from all over the Bay Area drove to Chabot Observatory Friday night.

The Northern Lights are captured from Point Reyes, Calif. on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

The Northern Lights are captured from Point Reyes, Calif. on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

Belmont resident Amy Kung brought her family in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights.

“There’s a lot of hype, we’re so excited I always wanted to take the kids to see it and we have the opportunity close in our backyard then why not?” Kung said.

Every Friday and Saturday, Chabot astronomers provided free telescope viewing.

The Northern Lights dazzle above Bay Area skies on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

The Northern Lights dazzle above Bay Area skies on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

Lorrin Squatrittow

Chabot has three, massive and historic telescopes where people can peek into the wonder of the universe.

Santa Clara University Associate Professor of Physics Philip Kesten said you don’t need a telescope to see these rare lights.

“For the eclipse, you had to have certain special things available to you, for the Northern Lights if they’re in the sky you can see them form anywhere,” Kresten said.

The Northern Lights dazzle over Bay Area skies on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

The Northern Lights dazzle over Bay Area skies on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

Margie Verdan

Kesten said the Northern Lights, which are officially called the aurora borealis, are spectacular when you can see them, and the reason this event is so exciting is because it doesn’t happen very often.

“There are a lot of things that happen in your life where you miss it and you go oh, I’ll see it tomorrow – I’ll do it tomorrow – this is not one of those things,” Kresten said.

San Francisco resident Elisa Yao first saw the shimmering display on a trip to Abisko, Sweden when it was negative 20 degrees outside.

“It was totally worth it and I almost cried and it looked like green snakes in the sky,” Yao said.

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