Another rare Northern Lights sighting in DC area

The aurora borealis was visible in central Virginia on April 23. (Courtesy @stormchaserzay)
The northern lights from Ellicott City, Maryland, in April 2023. (Courtesy Samiuddin)
A view of the lights in Virginia in late April 2023.
(Courtesy Myles)
The Northern Lights or Aurora are seen in the skies of Virginia in March of 2023. (WTOP/Greg Redfern)
In late March of 2023, the Northern Lights or Aurora were in the skies of Virginia. (WTOP/Greg Redfern)

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, made a rare appearance in the D.C. area Sunday night into Monday morning amid a strong geomagnetic storm.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center issued an alert for a severe G4 Geomagnetic Storm on Sunday night. The G4 Alert stated, “Aurora – Aurora may be seen as low as Alabama and Northern California.”

Last month, the Northern Lights were visible in some parts of Virginia. It was the third time auroras had been detected in Virginia over a span of 30 years with the last times being in 2003 and 2015.

Faint pink and green Aurora are visible in this iPhone 14 image taken in Central Virginia.
(Courtesy: Laurie Redfern)

How to take photos

For the best way to snap a photo of the sky-dancing lights, use wide-field binoculars or a camera or smartphone that can take exposures of several seconds. If your camera has a “Night Sky” or “Low Light” setting, this should help.

Your smartphone or photo camera may also be able to pick up some of the softer northern lights that you wouldn’t be able to see with the naked eye. You’ll want to look to the north, where you should be able to see red or green lights visible even in dark areas.

Keep up with the latest by monitoring NOAA’s resources and space-related social media sites, such and for updates.

Follow Greg Redfern’s Twitter @SkyGuyinVA and daily blog to keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. You can email him at

Ciara Wells

Ciara Wells is the Evening Digital Editor at WTOP. She is a graduate of American University where she studied journalism and Spanish. Before joining WTOP, she was the opinion team editor at a student publication and a content specialist at an HBCU in Detroit.

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