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Northern lights captivate stargazers across Massachusetts

Northern lights captivate stargazers across Massachusetts
Northern lights captivate stargazers across Massachusetts 01:53

BOSTON - It was a show in the sky that captivated late night stargazers across Massachusetts. The northern lights were on full display Thursday night due to an increase in atmospheric activity that caused them to be seen further south than usual.

Twenty-six-year-old Kalpesh Krishna is a graduate student at UMass Amherst and said it was a lifelong dream of his to see the northern lights.

"I have been wanting to see them for a long time," said Krishna. "It was pretty cloudy unfortunately last night in Massachusetts but there was a small window when the clouds cleared. That's when I clicked those photos."

Northern Lights Amherst
Northern lights seen in Amherst, Massachusetts Kalpesh Krishna

Krishna was just one WBZ-TV viewer who captured photos of the lights. He said the colors look more faded in person but pop on the camera.

It was a similar sentiment from John Gravell. The nature photographer had seen the northern lights before, but Thursday's display was the most vibrant he had experienced. He made the trip from Methuen to Rockport to capture the display. 

"I don't even know how to explain it. You get filled with so much joy," said Gravell. "I feel like your eyes aren't used to seeing. So, you're like who what is this. It's just incredible to see it."

Northern lights Massachusetts
Northern lights seen in Rockport, Massachusetts Jay Grave Photography

Bill Murtagh works at the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. His team studies upper atmospheric storms and their impacts. 

Murtagh said the sun is like a magnet with a positive and negative force. However, those forces rotate during an 11-year process called the solar cycle. 

"We are coming out of that solar minimum and ramping up to the solar maximum," said Murtagh.

He suggested this would mean increased frequency of these northern lights events in more southern areas. "These sunspots emerge, and we start seeing these eruptions that can produce these northern lights," Murtagh said.

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