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SUNSPOTS CAUSED GLOW, OFFICIALS SAY.

Byline: - Daily News

LANCASTER - What several Antelope Valley residents saw glowing in the night sky wasn't caused by military testing at Edwards Air Force Base. Instead they had a rare glimpse of the northern lights, authorities said Sunday.

Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Darrel Brown of the Lancaster station said sunspot activity in the sky during the weekend caused some concern in a few Antelope Valley residents.

Also, KTLA (Channel 5) reported that several viewers called the station inquiring about the strange glow they had seen.

``We had people calling here wondering if there were tests going on out at Edwards Air Force Base, but apparently whatever they saw was caused by sunspots, not the military,'' Brown said.

A sunspot is a region on the surface of a star that temporarily cools, causing the region to appear darker on scientific instruments. Sunspots often interfere with the magnetic field of the Earth, causing the aurora borealis and disrupting satellite and other communications.

Apparently the recent activity of AR 9393, a sunspot area designated by NASA, causing sun flares and sunspots, has affected life on Earth.

Some regions of the state, including Lancaster and other High Desert areas, were prime viewing areas to see the aurora borealis, or northern lights, which is a rarity.

``I don't know what people saw,'' Brown said about Lancaster residents' reports. ``But they definitely saw it, and it wasn't military testing, which is typical for this area.''
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 2, 2001
Words:240
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