On May 15, 2024
Local News

Aurora borealis makes rare appearance

By Andrea Ambros

Seen locally in a number of towns including Hartland

By Curt Peterson

Also called “northern lights,” an aurora borealis display lit up the skies in selected parts of the state this weekend, and at least two Hartlanders got to enjoy the event.

Auroras occur when charged particles are sent into space during a “storm” on the sun’s surface. When they reach us, the particles react with Earth’s magnetic force by lighting up in various colors and waving about in the night sky.

Mary Ann Van Buren was excited to see the predicted aurora, and, accompanied by her dog Zuzu, she stood outside her Jenneville home Friday night, May 10. She saw nothing, but, undaunted, she tried again Saturday night.

By Mary Ann Van Buren

“Holy cow!” Van Buren said. “What I saw was the reflection of the lights on the clouds, but it was magical.  At about 10-11 p.m. the aurora sneaked up on me, but it lasted a half hour.”

She had set her phone camera on “dark mode,” a trick she learned from internet chatter, and got some interesting photos.

Andrea Ambros lives in the Lull Farm Road area. One might call her an “aurora veteran,” as she has seen major displays quite often when working in the Poker Flats area near Fairbanks, Alaska.

“But having the northern lights come to Vermont is a rare and special gift,” she told the Mountain Times. “It’s only the third time I’ve seen it happen here — the last time was 40 years ago.”

Ambros planned to get up to see the aurora, but forgot to set her alarm.

“We have a skylight right over our bed,” she said. “I woke up because there was suddenly more light in the bedroom than normal. It was the aurora.”

It was about 2:30 a.m. She ran outside to their upper field and caught images with her phone camera.

“It was impressive!” she said.

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