Sask. northern lights almost max category index: aurora expert |

Saskatchewan residents grabbed their cameras and headed out after dark this week to catch a glimpse of the spectacular northern light show.

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“The sky was just exploding,” said Cole Sawitsky  They almost make me feel like they will rip you off your feet. Like it doesn’t even feel real when you’re standing under the sky.”

“It was like a shower coming over top of me, she added, “Like going over the whole entire landscape around me. It was just completely breathtaking. There was purples, pinks, blues, greens, yellows, oranges, reds, kind of pretty much everything. Usually, you only see green aurora out there and this took out pretty much every colour possible. 

Aurora chaser and researcher Dale Boan said that northern lights are categorized on a KP index, similar to category storm indexes.

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The scale ranges from zero to nine. KP 003 lights would show virtually nothing in the sky, while nine affects much of the northern and southern hemisphere.

“Friday peaked at eight — one from the maximum,” Boan said. “So that only happens, you know, once or twice a year when the sun is very active. So, it was exceptional.”

Boan noted that aurora activity has spiked in the last year and his Facebook page, Aurora Hunters, had gained thousands of members just this week.

“Saskatchewan is a really good place to see (northern lights). The further west you go, the harder it is to see them. Actually, Manitoba, Ontario and the western part of Quebec are even better.”

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Boan said the best time to see the lights is after midnight, but they can still be spotted earlier.

“Our eyes in the dark aren’t very sensitive to colours, or often what we see is very pale colours or even white. So sometimes it just looks like a moving light. Clouds in the sky. As they get stronger, our eyes can start picking up the colours. So, on Thursday, we could see the greens, pale greens, some pale reds.

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“It’s a really amazing experience and it’s different every time. So, you know, I tend to go out over and over again to try and photograph it and to see it just because amazing things happen.”

Boan said that unfortunately the aurora forecast isn’t looking too promising for the weekend, but it can always change.

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