TOPEKA (KSNT) – A local station for the National Weather Service (NWS) captured the faint glow of the Northern Lights above Kansas in late March.
The NWS station of Topeka claims to have spotted a glimpse of the famous Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, over Kansas. The lights were also spotted above Missouri.
The NWS made the announcement on social media early Friday morning:
The lights were also spotted above Missouri.
Not quite visible to the naked eye yet, but with a longer camera exposure, the aurora has made an appearance in Topeka! Just enough breaks in the clouds to briefly get a view. #kswxNWS Topeka statement
KSNT 27 News Stormtrack Meteorologist Matt Miller said seeing the Northern Lights over Kansas is an unusual phenomenon. It occurs on rare occasions when the solar winds are stronger and sends electrons and protons streaming toward the earth’s upper atmosphere.
The collision creates the amazing display that is the Northern Lights, according to Miller. Seeing the aurora this far south is not common, but happens during times of increased solar activity, measured by the KP index. The index has a scale of 0 to 9, where 9 is the highest level of activity. The KP index was recorded almost at an 8 in the early morning hours of March 24.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NWS also put out an alert for Friday stating that a severe geomagnetic storm could be expected. Possible effects of this storm include widespread voltage control issues with power grids and an increased risk of atmospheric drag on some satellites.
Follow Matthew Self on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewLeoSelf