Photo voltaic storm could trigger Northern Lights to be seen tonight from Oshawa to Mississauga to Niagara Falls

By Glenn Hendry

Posted on December 24, 2021 at 9:43 am

Photo Colin Williamson

Maybe, just maybe, if you look north at the right time tonight, you can see them.

No, not Santa Claus and his reindeer, but Aurora Borealis – the northern lights.

A solar storm that erupted from the sun on December 20 could amplify the northern lights here in southern Canada, where they’re rarely seen. It can also set off geomagnetic storms that can cripple power grids – one such storm in 1989 left power in large parts of Quebec for nine hours – and confuse migratory birds, which use the Earth’s magnetic field to find their way south.

(It can also interfere with satellite services – so if Santa is using GPS or some other modern technology he may have to adapt – “Rudolph, you’re up” – to make sure the gifts are being delivered to the right homes.)

There’s a lot of talk about this topic on UK websites – London, England is about eight degrees north of the GTA – but veteran Oshawa news photographer Colin Williamson is confident (“fingers crossed”) that we in southern Ontario can take a look at this “Amazing display”.

So before you put the kids all comfortably in their beds (with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads), look north and look up. Maybe that night of all times you will see Santa Claus.

Or maybe catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.

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