British Columbia·Photos

British Columbians get 'rare' glimpse of aurora borealis

Some British Columbians were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the northern lights on Monday.

A rare sighting of the northern lights was captured by a lucky few Monday morning

A rare sighting of the northern lights was captured by a lucky few on Monday. Rod Saigeon captured the phenomenon while he was at Loon Lake near Clinton, B.C. (Rod Saigeon)

Some British Columbians were lucky enough to catch a rare glimpse of the northern lights on Monday.

Many were able to capture the phenomenon early Monday morning, some as far south as Sechelt, which SFU Physics professor Joanna Woo says is "rare." 

She says the lights can sometimes reach as far down as Vancouver but it's quite uncommon. 

"I got the alarm at like 1 a.m. via email and so I had to go to the top deck of the boat and check it out, and there it was, so yeah, I started to take pictures," said Nick Munday, who is visiting from England with his partner. 

Munday was spending the weekend on a boat in Sechelt when the show began. 

Nick Munday and his partner captured the northern lights Monday morning while the British couple was visiting Sechelt. (Nick Munday )

"It's a really cool thing to see, like it's something that I've wanted to see for sure while I was in my two years in Canada," he added. "We were completely wowed." 

A lack of camera equipment did not stop him from capturing the moment, so Nick set his phone camera to manual and played with the exposure. 

Others also shared their photos on social media. 

Rod Saigeon also enjoyed the spectacle. He was at Loon Lake near Clinton, B.C., when the show started around 2 a.m.

"I actually saw the horizon glow right after dark and mistook it for lights from Merritt,' he wrote in an email to CBC.

Rod Saigeon was in Loon Lake near Clinton, B.C., when he saw the northern lights early Monday morning. (Rod Saigeon)

A rare sight

Unfortunately, if you didn't get a chance to see the lights you may have missed out. Robyn Fiori with the Canadian Space Weather Forecast Centre, says it could be another month before people living south of Yellowknife get another glimpse of the aurora borealis. 

"We don't expect to see those geomagnetic storms very often right now, so we are talking about once maybe every few months, so it is more rare to see them right now," Fiori added. "We could consider it more of a treat."

The northern lights are created when particles coming out from the sun get funnelled into the "aurora oval" when travelling toward the earth, but Fiori says such an oval is usually only visible at higher latitudes. 

She says their Victoria station does not usually pick up any geomagnetic field activity, but Monday morning saw a lot of activity. 

So for now, she says people should enjoy the rare sight and follow their Twitter account for any future northern light appearances. 

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