LaFayette Sun News

Northern Lights make rare appearance in Chambers County

View of the northern lights in Lanett.

By John Brice

Residents of Chambers County and all across the south enjoyed the rare opportunity to witness Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the “Northern Lights”, during the late evening hours of Friday, May 10th of 2024. Due to what many scientific experts have deemed to be a once in a lifetime cosmic event, the colorful atmospheric light show often referred to as “nature’s fireworks” was visible in southern states which is quite a rarity and generally can be viewed only in Alaska or northern Canada.
Reports from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center notified the public about an extreme magnetic storm qualifying for its highest rating level of G5 being caused by Coronal Mass Ejections from the Sun reaching the Earth, the first time this unusual event has occurred since 2003.
Many areas of Chambers County made for ideal viewing spots as darker nighttime rural locations with minimal light interference from streetlights and wide open spaces free from buildings and trees blocking the horizon maximized the chances of viewing the heavenly spectacle unobstructed.
One local facebook user proclaimed “The Northern Lights showed up in Valley Alabama!” to which another responded “It was an amazing sight!” and in turn they replied “yes it was! I got to mark it off my bucket list!”. Many would-be stargazers in the area expressed frustration at being unable to view the light show and missing out, with timing and clear skies being critical factors in successfully viewing the display.
Some commenters advised the use of technology to assist with capturing the sight, with one advising “You can’t really see them much with the naked eye. The only way I could see them last night was through my phone camera.” with another suggesting “Face north away from lights. Use night mode and long shutter if you have it. A camera gets it even better. My husband’s turned out dark when he posted them, but I don’t think he had it on night mode.”
There were some glimmers of hope for those who missed Friday night, as one commenter pointed out the day after by noting “Tonight should be about the same maybe better. There have been several 6 or 7 large solar flares over the past couple days that kicked this off. I think tonight and maybe tomorrow night there might still be some possibility of seeing some if you’re out of areas with too much ambient light.”

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