Ribbons of light dance across southern Willamette Valley skies

EUGENE — Likely a once-in-a-lifetime event for many Oregonians, a natural phenomenon was seen illuminating the skies late Friday evening, May 10, until the wee hours of Saturday, May 11.

This photo of the solar storm was taken on Marcola Rd. last Friday night.

A severe solar storm — commonly known as the aurora borealis or northern lights  — was forecast the day  before. The beautiful, yet violent display is caused by the release of the sun’s built-up energy, causing energized particles, or solar winds, to travel across space and become attracted to the magnetic field around the Earth. When those solar winds flow across our atmosphere, this is the result. 


The last time a storm this big was visible from Willamette Valley skies was in 2003. But this time, viewers were equipped with cell phone cameras, which can pick up light better than our eyes can, so any Average Joe could snap a photo of this incredible sight with colorful results.



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