Solar storm may cause Northern Lights to be visible from Oshawa to Mississauga to Niagara Falls tonight


Published December 24, 2021 at 9:43 am

Photo Colin Williamson

Maybe, just maybe, if you look to the north tonight at the right time you can see them.

No, not Santa and his reindeer, but Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights.

A solar storm that erupted from the sun December 20 may boost northern lights displays down here in southern Canada where they are rarely seen. It may also trigger geomagnetic storms that can knock out power grids – one such storm in 1989 knocked out power in much of Quebec for nine hours – and confuse migrating birds who use the earth’s magnetic field to find their way south.

(It also can disrupt satellite services – so if Santa is using GPS or other modern technology he may have to adapt – “Rudolph, you’re up”- to ensure the presents are delivered to the right houses.)

There is a lot of chatter of the subject on British web sites – London, England is about eight degrees latitude farther north than the GTA – but veteran Oshawa news photographer Colin Williamson is hopeful (“fingers crossed”) those of us in southern Ontario can see this “amazing display.”

So before you tuck in the children all snug in their beds (with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads), look north and look up. Maybe you’ll see Santa, on this, of all nights.

Or maybe you’ll catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

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