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Northern Lights come to Kentucky skies

The Northern Lights were visible throughout much of the commonwealth over the weekend — including Versailles, where this photo was taken.
Heather Dieffenbach 
The Northern Lights were visible throughout much of the commonwealth over the weekend — including Versailles, where this photo was taken.

Kentucky got a rare light show over the weekend, thanks to a very large solar storm. Mark Pitts is an assistant professor at Eastern Kentucky University’s college of Physics, Geosciences and Astronomy. He said the sun launched a much higher number of solar particles than usual – and as a result, much of North America got to see what’s called Northern Lights.

“And it just so happened to basically hit us dead on, which is a little bit just down to random chance, because of course, we're orbiting the sun, so we're a moving target.

Pitts said people who held on to their glasses can see from last month’s eclipse can see the solar flares causing aurora borealis, which is typically seen only in northern latitudes. He said at night, the Northern Lights may be visible for the next several days.

“It doesn't take a huge time commitment. As long as you have a nice view of the northern sky, it's just a matter of setting like I said, your camera for a few seconds of exposure. And just see if you notice anything, if there's something there, then you can keep taking pictures.”

Pitts said the dancing lights we see on TV and in movies are the result of time lapse photography – but the colors are likely to be visible, especially to folks who’re away from city lights.

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John McGary is a Lexington native and Navy veteran with three decades of radio, television and newspaper experience.
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