If you looked to the skies last night, chances are you would’ve seen one of nature’s most beautiful, yet unusual phenomenons. The ghostly lights that lit-up the sky were caused by the Aurora Borealis, or “Northern Lights.” The National Weather Service’s Roger Vachalek says they started getting calls from folks who were seeing strange lights in the sky, at around six-p-m Sunday. Vachalek – who recently moved back to Iowa from Anchorage, Alaska – says while it’s common to see the Aurora in that part of the world, it’s not that common here. Vachalek says these are unusual events, and last night’s brightness is not that common in Iowa. He says particles that travel through the magnetic fields of the earth get excited and create light. He says while last night’s light show was spectacular here in Iowa, the effect is more pronounced the farther North you travel, and is in its full glory at the North Pole. It wasn’t just Iowans who reported seeing the waves, spikes and globs of light bounce across the sky Sunday night. A large section of the Northern U.S. saw the show as well, and Vachalek says there’s more to come. He says another storm will develop on the sun’s surface soon, and the best chance for another intense Aurora lightshow could be in 24- to 36-hours from now. The lights are best viewed in the rural areas, or where there is little light pollution created by street lamps and structures. The solar storms that help to create the Aurora Borealis are not expected to create a problem for Earth-orbiting communication satellites.
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