The northern lights appeared over Ontario last night, the result of a severe geomagnetic storm that rolled past Earth on Sunday evening, painting our planet’s night skies with colourful auroras that were visible across much of the province.
A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) event was recorded at approximately midday on Friday, when plasma and magnetic fields erupted from the Sun’s corona on the heels of a strong solar flare.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center states that the resulting geomagnetic storm started just after 1:30 pm on Sunday afternoon, eventually reaching level 4 of 5 on NOAA’s space weather G-scale.
The CME has arrived. Look for northern lights in the north sky once it gets dark but only if the sky is clear enough. pic.twitter.com/S5n2iMzmse
— Anthony Farnell (@AnthonyFarnell) April 23, 2023
The CME event brought aurora borealis, or northern lights, much farther south than typical latitudes as the cloud of solar plasma passed by the planet.
Mirroring the solar flare, social media has similarly erupted with photos of the event captured from locations across Ontario.
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Scenes from northwest of London, Ontario, look like something captured from an arctic tundra, with skies lit up in brilliant pink and green hues.
Still awestruck over what I was able to witness a few hours ago…threaded the needle into the only clear slot in Southern Ontario and was gifted this surreal scene NW of London! The magentas were unbelievable. #aurora #northernlights #ldnont #geomagneticstorm @jasonoyoung pic.twitter.com/7qo5Ovq9f4
— David Piano (@ONwxchaser) April 24, 2023
Another view from northwest of London shows more of these dazzling colours.
That was…… life changing. #AuroraBorealis from Parkhill, Ontario@TamithaSkov @spacewxwatch pic.twitter.com/RrKv45RkH4
— Alex Masse (@CAlexMasse) April 24, 2023
Skywatchers stayed up late in places like the shores of Lake Huron for the chance to witness the colourful display.
The Northern Lights put on an excellent show along the shores of Lake Huron in Southern Ontario tonight! pic.twitter.com/jYMqAFMFnj
— Jason O’Young (@jasonoyoung) April 24, 2023
An airline passenger flying over Kitchener was treated to a rare sight out their window.
Amazing display of the northern lights on @westjet flight WS674 from #yyc to #yyz tonight. Pictures taken while flying over Kitchener, Ontario. @weathernetwork @CTVKitchener pic.twitter.com/2JFEXxIA9K
— Christopher Ward (@pilotboy1985) April 24, 2023
Southwestern Ontario got quite the show, but, unfortunately, Toronto residents missed much of the show due to overcast skies at the time of the solar storm.
Can’t believe I got to witness this!!! #northernlights Southwestern Ontario. pic.twitter.com/QoIH8plwDn
— Felipe Ramirez 🇨🇦🇨🇴 (@piperamirez7) April 24, 2023
Toronto and much of Ontario experienced a similar — if slightly less impressive — aurora borealis event almost exactly one month to the day earlier, resulting in a similar flood of otherworldly photos on social media.