Northern Lights photo by Arlington resident Eric SegalLocal resident Eric Segal caught this view of Northern Lights on May 10. 

UPDATED May 18: Local retiree and active volunteer Eric Segal fulfilled a longtime dream when he caught the dramatic -- and rare -- appearance of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, late May 10.

"I was getting ready to go to sleep at about 11 p.m. on Friday night when I remembered that Friday and Saturday nights were going to be extraordinarily good for seeing the Northern Lights.

"I had never seen them and have always wanted to, so I got out of bed and walked to Magnolia Park. I was lucky, because, although it was a cloudy night, the clouds were in the south, and of course the Northern Lights are in the north," he told YourArlington via email.

"There were a few others at the park, all with their cell phones out. With the naked eye, I could just see gray streaks in the sky. Mobile phones, however, are better at picking up color in these conditions than our eyes are. So I watched the lights though the camera on my Samsung A52 phone and caught this shot looking over the houses on Magnolia Street. If the sky is clear, I am going back tonight [Saturday May 11]. Two places I know of that have good visibility to the North are the Kelwyn Manor side of Spy Pond, and the dam in between the two Mystic Lakes."Photo of Northern Lights by Bev Moore.Photo of Northern Lights by Bev Moore.

Beverly Morse, another local resident, took several shots of the phenomenon late the same night from the other end of town -- Robbins Farm Park in Arlington Heights. She said she used an iPhone 13. " Out of curiosity, my husband and I walked up the hill to the park.  At first we only saw a band of pale light thinking it was cloud coverage.

"However the phone saw far more optical differentiation than that detected by the naked eye.  I was thrilled to catch anything."

She said she had moved to town from Gambier, Ohio, less than a year ago, to be close to family after being an admissions dean at Kenyon College and Oberlin College. She now sings in the First Parish choir, plays the cello and is involved in gardening as well as being on student selection board of the United World College, a high school international baccalaureate program..

According to a recent article from NBC, "The northern lights appear in the sky when charged particles spew from the sun during solar storms, making colorful light displays when clouds of those particles collide with Earth's magnetic field and interact with the atoms and molecules in Earth's upper atmosphere.Typically, the northern lights are only seen in high latitudes, but during intense solar storms, like on Friday, they can be seen farther south than expected."

Friday marked the first time in nearly 20 years that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center had issued a severe geomagnetic storm watch, the article said. 


April 8, 2024: Arlington residents experience the eclipse 

This account based on email from Arlington resident Eric Segal and online sources was published early Sunday, May 12, 2024, and updated Tuesday, May 14, with a photo and quotes from another local resident. It was updated Saturday, May 18, to correct the spelling of the name of that resident (Beverly Morse). YourArlington regrets the error.