Photo gallery: Northern lights
By Star Journal staff
Rhinelander photographer Jack Flint took these photos of the northern lights Sunday night, April 23 on Apperson Drive off highway 47.
According to UW-Madison Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, “A severe G4 geomagnetic storm brought aurora borealis activity to lower than usual latitudes overnight, resulting in rare sightings of northern lights from several U.S. states.” Others have reported viewing the light display as far south as Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona and California last night.
Northern lights, or aurora borealis, are created when energized particles from the sun crash into the earth’s upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million mph, according to space.com.
“As Earth’s magnetic field redirects the particles toward the poles, the dramatic process transforms into a cinematic atmospheric phenomenon that dazzles and fascinates scientists and skywatchers alike,” according to the website.
Galileo coined the name aurora borealis in 1619, after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek god of the north wind, Boreas. However, a 30,000-year old cave painting in France is believed among researchers and astronomers to be the earliest record of northern lights.