The aurora borealis viewed from the west side of Port Angeles at about 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. (Jay Cline/for Peninsula Daily News)

The aurora borealis viewed from the west side of Port Angeles at about 2 a.m. Tuesday morning. (Jay Cline/for Peninsula Daily News)

Aurora borealis lights leap up in North Olympic Peninsula skies

PORT ANGELES — There’s a chance that the vivid purple and green lights of the aurora borealis could be seen across the North Olympic Peninsula tonight.

Tuesday morning’s vivid aurora borealis show on the North Olympic Peninsula was possible again Tuesday night, and has a chance of being visible tonight, according to models on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center at swpc.noaa.gov.

“Solar wind conditions remain highly favorable for continued strong geomagnetic storming, with both fast solar wind and strong magnetic fields,” according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.

“Aurora watchers in North America, especially northern tier states of the U.S., should stay alert,” the center announced on its website Tuesday afternoon.

Also known as the northern lights, aurora borealis natural light shows are the result of electrons ejected from the sun colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.

The model shows the edge of the lights nearing the North Olympic Peninsula tonight.

The aurora rarely dips this far south, usually being at 67 degrees magnetic latitude. The Peninsula is about 52.7.

When geomagnetic activity is very high, the aurora may be seen at mid- and low-latitudes that would otherwise rarely experience the polar lights.

Early Tuesday morning, a geomagnetic storm classified as “G-4 severe” produced the colors visible on the northern horizon from most areas on the Peninsula, and a second such storm is on its way, the center predicted Tuesday.

The week’s earlier forecast to weaken to G-2 moderate by Tuesday night, the prediction center announced on its website.

The new storm is expected to be classified as “G-3 strong” tonight and into Thursday morning.

More information on aurora borealis can be found at the prediction center’s website, swpc.noaa.gov.

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