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City Council To Question Con Ed About What Caused ‘Astoria Borealis’ – CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City Council will hold a hearing Monday to determine what caused December’s so-called “Astoria Borealis.”

A malfunction at a Con Ed substation in Queens created an arc flash of blue light that could be seen for miles.

As CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reports, it took over the New York City skyline and people’s imaginations.

“I thought aliens were landing. It was all kinds of noise,” Astoria resident David Brown said. “You think nuclear war maybe, you think North Korea or something. You really don’t know what’s going on.”

“It looked apocalyptic. It was crazy,” another man added.

WATCH: Chopper 2’s Dan Rice Over the Scene in Queens 

Turns out, the eerie, extraterrestrial glow wasn’t an invasion, but something less exciting.

Con Ed said the display was caused by an electrical flash after a voltage monitor failed at its plant in Queens.

No serious injuries were reported, but there were scattered power disruptions, including at LaGuardia Airport and Rikers Island.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo checked out the facility after it happened in December and poked a little fun.

“We did find one piece of evidence that was a little peculiar,” he said.

WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Discusses Con Ed Explosion 

The governor and utility promised a full investigation.

“We’ll be analyzing all the equipment from the yard. Our workers are in there. They’ll be studying it, and examining it, and trying to figure out exactly what happened,” Con Ed spokesperson Michael Clendenin said.

MORE: ‘Astoria Borealis’ Dazzles Bright Blue Night Sky After Electrical Explosion

During Monday’s hearing, the public will learn more about what happened and hear testimony on new legislation that would require the city to study whether it’s feasible to replace power plants across the five boroughs with renewable energy sources.

The blue light could result in making the area more green.


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