Aurora Borealis Gives A Brilliant Light Show In Cody And Beyond | Big Horn Basin Media

Aurora Borealis Gives A Brilliant Light Show In Cody And Beyond

Written by on May 12, 2024

Residents of Park County who were up and outside either Friday or Saturday night were treated to a rare, awe-inspiring light show that hasn’t occurred in over two decades.

Aurora Borealis outside of Cody

The Aurora Borealis lit up the Wyoming night sky over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Facebook).

The Aurora Borealis was in full view for many to see from Wyoming, down to Arizona.  Even people on the east coast, as far south as South Florida, could witness the astronomical events.

Peak visibility time both nights (if there weren’t clouds in the sky) were “between 9 p.m. and midnight, with some chance until 2 a.m.,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Tom Kines said. The best views will be in dark areas away from the light pollution of cities, he said, though some reported seeing the auroras Friday night from metro areas like Milwaukee and Detroit.

Aurora Borealis in Cooke City, MT.

The Aurora Borealis hasn’t been seen in many parts of the country in over 20 years. The strong storm could be seen as far south as Arizona and Florida. This picture was taken outside of Cooke City, MT. (Photo courtesy of Facebook).

The Aurora Borealis is usually only seen above the Artic Circle, at night, in places like Alaska, Scandinavia, and Greenland.

According to NASA, Auroras are brilliant ribbons of light that weave across Earth’s northern and southern polar regions. These natural light shows are caused by magnetic storms that are triggered by solar activity, such as solar flares (which are explosions on the Sun) or coronal mass ejections (ejected gas bubbles). These charged particles are carried from the Sun by the solar wind.  When the particles enter Earth’s magnetosphere, they cause substorms. As the substorms interact with Earth’s atmosphere, the friction causes each atom to glow in an array of different colors and look like bands that stretch across the sky.


But the beautiful light show that dazzled the night sky also had the possibility of damaging some key essentials to modern life; mainly electronic devices and power grids.

Aurora Borealis taken near Buffalo Bill Dam

Aurora Borealis taken near Buffalo Bill Dam. (Photo courtesy of Schuler Bailey).

The Department of Defense issued a text alert saying, “We are closely tracking a rare geomagnetic storm that may disrupt essential services.  Possible disruptions include Power, GPS, vehicle telematics, and internet [service]. To prepare: Keep a flashlight and extra batteries on hand, avoid electronic devices during the storm, and have a backup power source.”

Forecasters say the cosmic phenomenon could stretch into the upcoming week.

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