The aurora borealis lit up the night sky early in the morning on Aug. 5 for a lucky few including Salmon Arm’s Amber Weatherill to see and photograph. (Amber Weatherill Photo)

Northern lights visible for Okanagan and Shuswap sky-watchers

From Salmon Arm to Penticton, people caught a glimpse of the celestial spectacle.

Night owls, photographers and amateur astronomers were treated to a show that is rarely seen in the Okanagan and Shuswap early in the morning on Aug. 5; the brilliant green and purple waves of a summertime aurora borealis dancing across the pre-dawn sky.

The celestial spectacle, which is caused by disturbances in the earth’s magnetic field due to solar wind, is usually only visible further north, but it put on a show this morning and may be even more visible tonight and tomorrow.

One of those lucky enough to have eyes turned skyward in the early morning hours when the aurora was visible was Amber Wetherill, a Salmon Arm resident. Wetherill and her husband were up feeding their newborn and stepped outside to look at the stars at about 2 a.m.

Read More: Looking back: Salmon Arm gives royal welcome to Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth

Read More: Sicamous woman in the running to be Ms. Health and Fitness

“We were shocked to see the dancing green aurora, it was so beautiful moving across the sky,” Weatherill said.

Weatherill snapped a few photos on her cell phone in order to share the experience with others.

The northern lights were visible as far south as Penticton where they were photographed by Erin Tilley. Tilley said she actively follows northern lights predictions and often takes test shots from her home near Okangan Lake before heading out to a favourite viewing location at the Wharf Park in Naramata.

Sitting in the dark by the wharf, Tilley said she was treated to an array of meteors as well as the aurora which gained and lost intensity as the night went on.

“The lights lit up the sky, came and went in just a blink of an eye,” she said.

Tilley said the northern lights forecast for tonight is also promising.

Read More: Update: More personnel sent to fight South Okanagan wildfire

Read More: Salmon moved to B.C. hatchery as Fraser River landslide work continues

According to Environment Canada’s space weather forecast, an indicator of aurora activity Aug. 6 could bring more intense aurora activity. The space weather forecast uses a scale known as DRX to express the average magnetic field intensity over a day. The forecast shows a DRX rating of 15 for Aug. 5 and a rating of 18 for Aug. 6

August will feature a number of other celestial events which will show themselves in the night sky. According to Space.com Mercury will be visible in early morning sky between Aug. 1 and 19 and the Perseid meteor shower peaks on Aug. 12 and 13.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two-vehicle collision causes rollover at Burtch Road and Highway 97

Harvey is down to single lane traffic headed downtown

Lake Country event gets people to celebrate failure

Event on Feb. 29 will give people opportunity to discuss failures, enjoy live music and create artwork

Dates revealed for 2020 Kelowna Pride celebrations

Kelowna’s Pride Week will run from June 6 to 14

Kelowna accepting applications for Artist in Residence program

Artists from all disciplines are welcome to apply

Central Okanagan receives less funding per student than B.C. average

In 2019, Central Okanagan received almost $400 less in funding per student

UPDATE: Protesters say they will maintain blockade near Chase “as long as it takes”

Signs at protest site say in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Deaths on popular Shuswap trail ruled accidental

B.C. Coroners Service reports on fatal falls in May and July 2019

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Federal minister to speak in North Okanagan

Greater Vernon Chamber welcomes middle class prosperity minister to talk money

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

EDITORIAL: Thoughtless posts to Facebook cause real harm and stress

At the risk of resembling a broken record, it needs to be… Continue reading

Most Read