Feeling badly because you missed the rare ‘Northern Lights’ over Alabama? Here’s some possible good news, with emphasis on the word ‘possible:’ You likely get a second chance Saturday night to see the Northern Lights.

Yes, astronomers think the solar flares peaked early Saturday morning after midnight, but the flares are still active and could produce the light show over Alabama again Saturday night. Or not. You will have to go outside to see, just as thousands of Alabama folks did on a chilly Friday night into Saturday morning.

What Alabama folks saw late night May 10 into the early morning of May 11 was a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon – or twice in a lifetime if it reappears Saturday night.  It hasn’t occurred to the extent that we witnessed this weekend in our lifetimes – and won’t again.

The 2024 Northern Lights did not go as predicted – they were much more pronounced. What experts had predicted to be a strong G4 solar storm ended up a stronger G5.

Alabama folks from The Shoals of northwest Alabama to Fort Morgan and Dauphin Island on the Alabama Gulf Coast posted photos of the local Northern Lights on social media.

Some Alabama observers expressed disappointment, seeing only a pinkish sky or nothing at all. Others pointed out to them that viewing can be better using a newer cell phone adjusted to night mode and other adjustments.  A new and properly adjusted cell phone can pick up more light than the naked eye.

Here are some of the posts from my 5,000 Alabama Facebook friends. Many mentioned the glory of God.

From Will Pylant in Huntsville:

Willpylanthuntsville Alabama News

 Micah Moody, Fairhope.

Micahmoodyfairhope Alabama News

District 7 State Rep. Ernie Yarbrough:

Ernieyarbrough Alabama News

Talmadge BO Garrison of White City commented: Well, it's a fact. If you can't go North to see the lights, God will bring them to you.

Jean Clark Lynd. Fort Morgan Pier, iPhone 15Pro, night mode w/3 second exposure:

Jeanclarklyndfortmorgan Alabama News

Will Mathews in Alabama's Wiregrass. "The Aurora Borealis. If you don’t believe in God tonight this ought to convince you."

Willmathews Alabama News

From Angie Wilson Holm, the Honorary Mayor of Zip City, Alabama. "Was a Beautiful sight  First time ever seeing Aurora lights    It was a chilly night but worth being out for the sight    Bucket list item checked."

Angiewilsonholm Alabama News
Source: file photo

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, are a harmless light show, nature’s fireworks. They are usually seen at northerly latitudes during sunspot storms – Canada, Alaska and some northern states.

A Level Four advisory had been released Thursday by the Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency: 

MEDIA ADVISORY: NOAA Forecasts Severe Solar Storm; Media Availability Scheduled for Friday, May 10 | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center

The solar storms could potentially disrupt “communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio and satellite operations.” No reports of disruptions have been received at this time.

The May 10-12 storms are the most powerful geomagnetic storms in six years.

Will the ‘Northern Lights’ need a new name, since they have extended into Alabama all the way to its Southern shore?

Stars fell on Alabama. 

Jim ‘Zig’ Zeigler writes about Alabama’s people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths.  He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at ZeiglerElderCare@yahoo.com.

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