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Northern lights a no-show in Spokane…

Good morning, Netizens...

I was hopeful. However, I also accepted that the night skies somewhat overcast with smoke and haze might not be the ideal situation for viewing of Northern Lights. Still, I optimistically set up my lawn chair occasionally glancing at the northern horizon in the hopes of seeing a flash of color. Since I had to be in bed early, because mornings start just before dawn around here, I hedged my bet by asking a friend who lives well outside the city lights if he would perhaps stay up a bit later in the hopes of seeing the elusive aurora borealis.

While I haven't heard an official word from the talking news heads on television, northern lights were a definite no-show last night, even from my friend's home outside Springdale, Washington which is about as far from the city lights as one could wish for.

I've seen, or rather heard Northern Lights several times before. My first caught me unawares on the highway leading to Juneau, Alaska nearly 30 years ago. I had stopped the truck on a particularly lonely stretch of highway to stretch my legs and answer nature's call approximately three hours before dawn. I had just completed my “walk-around” the truck, checking tail and marker lights and tires, when I heard what sounded like someone hissing at me. I spun around, fearful that one of the indigenous wildlife forms of Alaska had crept up on me unawares, but no.

It was just the aurora whispering in the snow. I could plainly see the lights as they shifted and moved across the sky. No one has ever explained how or why this sound happens, but I later learned from some “old hands” at the business of driving long-haul trucks in our Northernmost state that aurora is just part of the many mysteries of Alaska.

I had such high hopes, but aurora sightings are actually quite rare in Washington State, especially when you factor in city lights. Perhaps if we have another solar eruption similar to earlier this week, we might still have a chance. One never knows.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.