The Gleaner

Fire in the sky

It’s well worth looking up at the sky these days.

The northern lights were visible across Canada over this past weekend and night owls throughout the region were treated to green, pink, purple, and blue vistas as they danced across the sky.


The northern lights were highly visible across the Valley over the weekend PHOTO Lianne Finnie


According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Centre, the intensity of the aurora borealis was the result of a severe to extreme geomagnetic storm that saw several solar flares explode off the surface of the sun. These were the result of what experts referred to as “a cluster of sunspots” that were about 16 times bigger than Earth’s diameter.

It has been just over a month since we witnessed a full solar eclipse, and now a historic geomagnetic storm has produced several nights of brightly painted skies (in those areas not covered by clouds). Both cases serve as a powerful reminder of the sun’s influence on our planet.

We could certainly have used a little more sun this spring as cooler wet weather has delayed field preparation and seeding for many area farmers. While the sun can and does influence Earth’s climate, it has almost nothing to do with the sustained warming trends and climate change we have been seeing over the past few decades. During that time, fire storms have been increasingly happening here on earth. While we were looking at the sky, thousands in communities in British Columbia were forced to evacuate their homes due to the threat of advancing wildfires.

The Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU) has launched its largest forest fire prevention awareness campaign, as human activity triggers most wildfires. The fire protection organization is urging the public to be careful as forest fire season starts in Quebec. Keeping those out west in our thoughts, let’s hope that as the summer heat settles in, we don’t have to worry about anything more dangerous than the northern lights on the horizon.
Sarah Rennie



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