20 years ago today, northern lights were visible in Cincinnati

On the night of Nov. 5, 2001, eerie lights suddenly appeared over the skies of America.  I was closing up for the night at the Cincinnati Observatory. At my car, I looked up. The sky was green! After a moment of disbelief, it dawned on me: I was seeing the northern lights. 

Typically, the northern lights are only visible around Alaska, Canada and the Arctic Circle. But earlier that week, a massive solar storm rocketed off the sun. Some 93 million miles later, that solar material slammed into Earth's magnetic field and created the dazzling light show I witnessed. 

To see some pictures from that rare outburst 20 years ago, go to And to keep up on when another solar storm might trigger northern lights in your area at

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