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Northern lights startle the states (1903)

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Northern lights startle Seattle

Aurora borealis makes wondrous display on the sound

Sky is colored a brilliant emerald and a blood red

Seattle, Oct. 31. – The display of aurora borealis probably reached its climax as viewed in the Puget Sound country. The display lasted over two hours. The city was illuminated as if by moonlight through the display. The rays met in a focus in the zenith. The coloring was mostly brilliant emerald and blood red. The effect was startling.

Salt Lake, Utah, Oct. 31. – A remarkable display of the aurora borealis was visible here early this morning, continuing for several hours. So intense was the light that many were of the belief that a large fire was raging north of the city. Telegraph service throughout the Northwest was badly crippled for some time.

Chicago, Oct. 31. – Serious electric disturbances, said to have been due to the aurora borealis, or the northern lights, caused great interference with telegraph and telephone companies today. Telegraph wires in all directions from Chicago felt the effect, it in some localities causing a total cessation of business. Long-distance telephone wires were similarly affected, communications being entirely suspended at times. One report said that huge waves with high force passed through the earth, paralyzing the strength of the wires.

The disturbance lasted eight hours. At its climax, there were 675 volts of electricity — enough to kill a man — in the wires without the battery attached. An hour later, the trouble had virtually disappeared.

“It was the worst electrical disturbance in this city in thirty-five years,” said Chief Operator Pettit of the Postal Telegraph Company. “At times there were no workable wires in any direction and the cable service was seriously affected, both on the Atlantic and Pacific.”

New York, Oct. 31. – A brilliant display of the aurora borealis early today interfered with the telegraphic service in this vicinity. All cablegrams were accepted subject to heavy delay. The French Cable Company gives notice that, owing to the extraordinary electric disturbances, it is informed by the European administration that businesses will be subject to heavy delay.

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Duluth, Minn., Oct. 31. – The brilliant northern lights illuminated the heavens for half an hour. The display was pronounced by many to be the most beautiful ever seen in Duluth.

Photo: Aurora over Alaska — photo by Joshua Strang, USAF (2005) — via Wikipedia

>> Also see: What are the northern lights?

 

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