A solar storm that hit the Earth on Monday made it possible to see an aurora this far south, according to the National Weather Service.
The northern lights lasted from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., said meteorologist Bill Wojcik. NWS staffers couldn’t see it from their office, but caught it on an Idaho Transportation Department webcam near Horseshoe Bend.
It’s not common to see the aurora borealis this far south, but it does occur occasionally in the northwestern U.S., Wojcik said.
Meteorologist Korri Anderson said Monday evening that forecasts based on fluctuations in the magnetic fields along the Earth’s poles showed similar readings to mid-March, when the aurora borealis was visible over all parts of the northwestern U.S.
“It’s rare to get numbers these high,” Anderson said.
But it’s also hard to predict an aurora, he said, and it wasn’t a given that the northern lights would show up.
Idaho Statesman photographer Darin Oswald, who took a time-lapse video of the lights, said they were hard to see with the naked eye. The biggest show he witnessed came at about 11:20 p.m.
Several Statesman readers said they attempted to watch the lights but weren't able to see them.
The lights are unlikely to make a return Tuesday night, forecasters say, though residents of the Panhandle who are near the Canadian border might get a show.
Your best chance to see an aurora is to get away from city lights, somewhere with a good view of the sky to the north and northeast. In March, the aurora borealis could be seen from around Bogus Basin.