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Tim Durkan northern lights aurora picture
Photographer Tim Durkan’s picture of the Seattle skyline features the northern lights as well as the Space Needle. (Credit: Tim Durkan)

Seattle isn’t as much of a hot spot for the northern lights as, say, Alaska or Sweden – but this weekend, the Emerald City had its chance to bask in a green auroral glow. And fortunately, photographers and videographers were on the scene to take advantage.

Skywatchers benefited from a strong geomagnetic storm that swept past Earth’s magnetic field starting Saturday night. The G3-class “Mother’s Day Storms” sparked northern lights that could be seen as far south as Arkansas, as well as southern lights that lit up research bases in Antarctica. Seattleites benefited from clear skies on Saturday night just as the storm was hitting its peak.

“As I live and breathe, I never thought I’d see the aurora borealis dancing above the Emerald City with my naked eye like I did tonight,” photographer Tim Durkan wrote in a Facebook posting early Sunday. “I’m sitting here in my Subaru at 02:30 and still giddy with delight – it’s moments like these I live for!”

Later on, he posted a must-see time-lapse video showing the northern lights over Queen Anne Hill and the Space Needle.

Now the geomagnetic storm has settled down, and Seattle’s weather has turned cloudy. But we’ll always have the Mother’s Day light show to cherish. Keep tabs on and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center for alerts about future auroral displays, and feast your eyes on these Pacific Northwest shots from Saturday and Sunday night:

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