People who were up very early Monday morning had the chance to see aurora borealis light up the night skies on Vancouver Island.

Aurora borealis – also known as the northern lights- could also be seen as far away as Seattle, with the National Weather Service (NWS) tweeting that even with urban light pollution, they were visible as of 2 a.m.

The NWS Seattle later tweeted a photo taken on their roof.

Others reported seeing the northern lights between 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.

Northern lights are caused by collisions between electrons from space and the oxygen and nitrogen gas in Earth’s atmosphere.

According to NASA, these electrons originate in the magnetosphere, the region of space controlled by Earth’s magnetic field. As they rain into the atmosphere, the electrons impart energy to oxygen and nitrogen molecules, making them excited. When the molecules return to their normal state, they release photons, small bursts of energy in the form of light.

When billions of these collisions occur and enough photons are released, the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere emit enough light for the eye to detect them. This is only visible at night as the aurora is dimmer in sunlight.  The colour of the aurora depends on which gas is being excited by the electrons and how much energy is being exchanged.

If you were lucky enough to catch the dancing colours Monday morning, you may have also seen some meteors. The annual Perseid meteor shower, which typically produces roughly 100 meteors an hour, runs from July 17 to Aug 26, peaking the night of Aug. 12-13. Spectators will likely see fewer Perseids due to the close-to-full moon.

Check out more pictures of the northern lights and meteors from viewers below. You can send your aurora borealis and meteor photos to [email protected].

A view of aurora borealis and a meteor from Island View Beach in Central Saanich. (James Younger)

The aurora borealis and a meteor, as seen from Island View Beach in Central Saanich. (James Younger)

A Perseid meteor at Island View Beach (James Younger)

A Perseid meteor at Island View Beach (James Younger)

A Perseid meteor at Island View Beach (James Younger)

A Perseid meteor at Island View Beach (James Younger)

The northern lights at 3:30 a.m. in Sidney on Aug. 5, 2019. (Conan Chee Photography)

The northern lights at 3:30 a.m. in Sidney on Aug. 5, 2019. (Conan Chee Photography)

With files from CBC 

 

CHEK News