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Storms in space...

Jason Samenow @ 1:04 AM

Image courtesy NOAAOnce in a great while, the night sky presents us with the northern lights (or aurora borealis). Generally, they're only viewable at locations well to the north, but during strong storms (such as those happening now), they can be seen right here in the Washington area.

Here's how NOAA describes them:
The northern lights, also called the aurora borealis, is electromagnetic radiation caused by electrons colliding with molecules in the ionosphere. This spectrum of electromagnetic radiation ranges from infrared to ultraviolet. The visible spectrum is dominated by white and green light produced by excited oxygen molecules and pink light emitted from nitrogen.

When the sun is active, it often produces mass ejections that interact with Earth's magnetic field. Electric currents begin to flow in the upper atmosphere, and these currents produce the aurora borealis, which occurs almost simultaneously around both the north and south poles. published some incredible photos of the northern lights taken Monday night in central Illinois. The photographer, a professional storm chaser, called the experience the "most amazing thing I've ever seen in my life. It beat every storm experience..."

The Baltimore Sun reports "unbelievable" light shows seen near Baltimore Monday night and anticipates the lights will remain in view through this evening.

Has anyone see them around here? Please let us know by commenting...

Back on the ground, look for a cool (and sunny) day today, with highs around 50. Tonight, a freeze downtown (low of 32) and a hard freeze in the suburbs (lows 22-30). The good news is that warmer air returns for Wednesday and Thursday.

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