NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The northern lights were visible across 30 states over the past two nights! It was an awesome experience for residents in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky because it is not common to see the auroras from the comfort of your backyard!
Usually, the aurora borealis, the scientific name for the northern lights, can only be seen near the poles. This is because the auroras start at the surface of the sun as a cloud of gas. Once this cloud starts making its way to Earth, in about two to three days, it interrupts the Earth’s magnetic field.
The gas cloud is then pushed to the polar regions of Earth because that is where the magnetic force is the strongest.
The reason we were able to see the northern lights in Middle Tennessee was because of the size of the gas cloud released on Friday. This allowed the auroras to be seen closer to the equator.
This does not happen often, but it has happened approximately 100 times in the last 11 years.
It is hard to say when an event like this will happen again because it is all about the geomagnetic activity of the earth, when the sun will release a cloud of gas, and the size of the cloud.