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Two Spectacular Surprises in the Sky

It's been a good week for gazing upwards.

Earlier this week, a "coronal mass ejection" on the sun created an epic geomagnetic storm that caused an unusually widespread outbreak of Northern Lights. This particular aurora borealis appeared in skies over much of North America, even in relatively southerly latitudes. Check out this skywatcher's video from Michigan for a sampling (don't miss the amazing action around the 0:17 mark).

Then, this morning here in the Seattle area, we were treated to a vivid sunrise through a broken cloud layer. What made it special was the rare long shadow created by 14,411-foot-high Mount Rainier. Per KOMO news meteorologist Scott Sistek, this phenomenon occurs only when the sun is in the exact position (as it travels toward the winter solstice) to have the mountain block its first rays of sunlight. I'd personally never witnessed this before though I've lived here for 25 years.

Did you catch either event this week? What's your most memorable skywatching moment?

Posted on at 5:32 PM

Tagged: Mount Rainier, aurora borealis, northern lights and sunrise

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I've seen this a couple times in Portland with Mount Hood. I've only caught in on camera a few times. Between the first time I saw it and was able to see it again was 10 years..

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