By: Julián García Guillén

Vancouver, British Columbia, May 10, 2024, 9:54 pm, daylight fades. From Montreal and the eastern part of Canada the rumor is spreading: Northern Lights are visible. The most intense solar storm on the planet in the last 20 years: the cause.

Disbelief, skepticism, pass through my mind, but doubt crosses the threshold and I go out to the balcony. In the middle of the buildings there is a green line. “It’s psychosomatic I thought,” but the camera evidence was clear.

200 meters down seemed like an eternity. Like every night, Vancouver Harbor showed the tranquility of its yachts suspended in the waters of the bay. There, at the end of the horizon they were, easy and carefree. Northern lights were born from Grouse Mountain to the zenith. Goosebumps and astonishment uncovered my gaze.

Minutes before the match, Alan x el mundo recalled on my screen the hunt for the Northern Lights with Manumanuti. It couldn’t be, the Canadian Northern Lights are visible in Whitehorse, 2397 kilometers from my position. “Don’t get obsessed with photographing the auroras,” Manu said in his final conclusions. You can’t photograph them with a cell phone, you need a SLR camera, he comments along with Alan.

My amazement allowed me to move. From my jacket, the ultra model of Samsung’s latest generation tried to catch my eye. His nightshot system allowed me to record more clearly what my eyes could clearly see, in lines that only Dalí could have captured in the Canadian sky.

The Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States issued a severe geomagnetic storm alert (G4), the second most dangerous classification. The warning is the first of its kind since January 2005. At least five coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were observed aimed at Earth. The impact is scheduled for May 10 to 12.

CMEs are explosions of plasma and magnetic fields from the solar corona. When they head towards our planet they cause solar storms. They are considered dangerous to life on Earth. However, the globe has a natural protective shield that is effective against solar activity. The magnetic field and some characteristics of the atmosphere deflect or contain energetic particles arriving from space.

The institution warns that a powerful solar storm has the capacity to put communications systems around the world in check. Electromagnetic interference, the overload of electrical networks and the alteration of the ionosphere, he asserts, are some of the immediate consequences. Communications, navigation systems, radio and satellite operations may experience interference.

Vancouverites expressed to me their astonishment and the unprecedented nature of the phenomenon in their city, far from Whitehorse, located in the Yukon Territories on the banks of the homonymous river.

Various nationalities and languages ​​witnessed the phenomenon. Mission accomplished: hunt the northern lights. Maybe, as Manu said, my phone’s camera cheated and emphasized the auroras. But my gaze and my memory do not. God gave me the joy of being a witness.

Travelers, a morning later, beyond the unique experience, this type of phenomenon should make us reflect on how fragile we are as a species and the authority of our universe. We are exposed to phenomena beyond our will, but also beyond our will. Climate change is a reality, and its ravages are more catastrophic year after year. We are inert when faced with calls for help, let’s be empathetic with our environment, resilience is not enough. The planet can continue without us.

Meanwhile, tonight we will go hunting again!


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