A freak combination of natural and man-made occurrences has led to what may become the largest tourist attraction in the state of Tennessee, what is quickly becoming known as the “Southern Lights” over Knoxville.
It appears that a mixture of cigarette smoke and beer fumes coming from the “Jacks or Better” trailer park on Clinton Highway clashed with the fumes of a faulty septic tank during a recent lightning storm.
Lightning struck the gaseous mixture, charging the particles in a way that the high-energy particles streaming off the sun interacted with them to start to glow, producing the spectacle known as auroras. The array of colors consists of red, green, blue and violet.
The Southern Lights are constantly in motion because of the changing interaction between the solar wind, the earth’s magnetic field, and the natural urge towards urban sprawl.
Soon after formation, the Southern Lights were spotted floating over Downtown Knoxville. After a few days of floating in place and glowing without notice, the natural progression was to catch a breeze and float towards West Knoxville.
Although the Southern Lights haven’t been spotted in Downtown Knoxville in recent days, a movement is underway to build a large observatory on Market Square. The general thinking is that if the observatory exists, the phenomenon will return.