Stunning Photos of the Aurora Lights Seen as Far South as New Mexico

Last week, a powerful electromagnetic storm produced a spectacular display of the northern lights that reached as far south as Arizona, piqued the curiosity of photographers across North America.

The magnificent multi-color display that the Aurora borealis puts on is rare even in Canada, and Ontario-based PetaPixel reader Raghuvamsh Chavali sent in his stunning shot of the phenomenon.

"On the aurora forecast website, between midnight and two in the morning of March 24, I received a message showing an aurora activity rating of 7/10 for March 24, 25, and 26," claims Chavali.

"As soon as I looked up at the sky, I caught a glimpse of some faint stripes. When I approached the edge of town, I saw an incredible display of the northern lights.

Chavali claims that seeing the northern lights in southern Ontario is uncommon and that doing so was a luxury.

Despite trembling in the cold, he recalls, "I managed to catch the magnificence of the northern lights as they danced across the sky with my camera."

"I felt thankful for this amazing experience, which served as a reminder of the strength and grandeur of nature and how lucky we are to see such incredibly uncommon and magnificent phenomena," said the author.

Photographers other than Chavali also focused their cameras on the stunning lights. At Virginia's Shenandoah National Park, Peter Forister also captured the purple and green colours of the light.

Forister tells The Washington Post, "You simply step back and your jaw drops and you just watch the performance for a few minutes."

That was truly amazing, the type of spectacle that will cause you to pause and take a deep breath.

Unusually powerful electromagnetic storm

The intense aurora lights were created by an electromagnetic storm that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) classified as a four out of five, or severe, electromagnetic storm.

As far south as California, New Mexico, Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, and Oklahoma, the brilliant lights could be seen.

A storm of this intensity wasn't seen since 2017 before.

According to Bill Murtagh, program coordinator at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, "we were not expecting that level of storm by any means."

Several other factors are at play. When things don't go as planned so frequently, it's challenging to get people excited about the aurora.