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Putting on a show: The next time to see Northern lights in Waterloo region


Some stargazers got to see a stunning show in the sky on Monday night – the northern lights visible from our own backyard.

You usually have to drive far up north to see the northern lights but they were spotted by many across southern Ontario, including in Waterloo Region.

The dazzling show wowed sky watchers across southern Ontario on Sept. 18, 2023. (Submitted/Scott Rock in Port Elgin)Rayanne Parker called it ‘jaw-dropping’.

“It's mind-boggling because it's literally this tiny little bit and then it just literally explodes in front of your eyes,” said Parker.

University of Waterloo astronomy researcher Roan Haggar said a power eruption from the sun on Saturday supercharged the aurora borealis – another common name for the northern lights.

“We get one of these big eruptions on the sun and it throws out a load of material in these great big plumes,” Haggar said. “Particles that get thrown out from the sun get caught up by these magnetic fields and gets poles down to the poles of the earth.”

IN PICTURES: Northern lights dance over southern Ont. 

Haggar said we can expect to see more sightings of the northern lights in Southern Ontario in the next few years.

“The northern lights are affected by the amount of activity in the sun, and the sun's activity goes up and down over about an 11 year cycle. In about 2025 we should reach the next maximum,” Haggar said.

A photo of the northern lights seen on Sept. 18, 2023. (Submitted/Andrew Uramowski in Waterloo)Haggar said Tuesday night might be another good time to see the solar show.

“Tuesday night we're going to have really, really good northern lights show. So I'll be out tonight and I'd recommend that other people are as well,” said Haggar.

Stargazers suggest those who want to see the northern lights should head up to the darkest place you can find or find somewhere without any light pollution and look north. Top Stories

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