Northern Lights may be visible tonight in part of the US from Geomagnetic Storm – WUSA9.com

Northern Lights may be visible tonight in part of the US from Geomagnetic Storm - WUSA9.com
Northern Lights may be visible tonight in part of the US from Geomagnetic Storm
At least it might if you live in Canada, parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Michigan, Maine, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire, according to The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)s Geophysical Institutes aurora forecast.

In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Space Weather Prediction Center suggests that the aurora borealis — or Northern Lights — could be visible as far south as Iowa and Colorado. 

Americans and Canadians have a great chance to see the Aurora borealis on Friday night/early Saturday morning because of this solar flare. pic.twitter.com/573fMmbS4y

A rare solar storm may bring the Northern Lights south to the US

This relatively rare event can be tracked to March 20 when a powerful eruption of solar energy sent an unusually large stream of electrically charged particles streaming toward Earth.

(CNN)Many Americans and Canadians have a great chance to see the northern lights on Friday night and early Saturday morning.

A geostorm will give residents in the Northern US and Canada a rare chance to see the aurora borealis

Normally, such particles simply collide with gas particles in Earths atmosphere and put on their colorful display, much like the glow of a neon light. Oxygen molecules give off a familiar, ghostly green aurora, while nitrogen produces blue or red.

While the strength of this storm doesn't really favor a light show for the DMV, the weather certainly will. Saturday night we are expecting clear skies. At least, if the Aurora does over perform, clouds won't be in our way! I know I'll be watching!

While no cause of alarm for personal safety, or even the sensitive North American power grids, the arrival of this potent burst of energy can trigger a geomagnetic storm and disrupt the delicate balance around the poles.

The storm, in turn, pushes the swirling aurora off course, driving it southward for as long as three days and putting on its magic show.

A Rare Sight: Northern Lights May Be Visible In New York

Theres no guarantee, either on the timing or the conditions for colorful display, but for the best view, look to the east Saturday night before midnight, as the aurora rises, or to the west after midnight. Warning: this only works if the skies are clear and dark.

An enormous explosion of magnetized plasma — or coronal mass ejection — burst from the Sun on Wednesday following a smaller solar flare, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Another warning: Dont expect aurora borealis to put on a dazzling show farther south, where it might appear as only a glow on the horizon in places like Detroit and Chicago. 

In Chicago, Michelle Nichols, the director of public observing at Adler Planetarium, tells Time Out Chicago there are any variables to contend with.

“Theres no one place [or time] we can tell people to look, theres no one place we can tell people to go,” says Nichols. “If you want to take a chance, go far from the city, where youre farther away from light pollution.”

Theres a chance the aurora borealis light show will be on full-display for observers across Montana, Minnesota, Michigan and New York, according to the University of Alaska Fairbankss Geophysical Institute aurora forecast Saturday.

As a result, the northern lights, which are usually only visible in places like Alaska, Norway, or Iceland, will be able to be seen from lower latitudes, including New York, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Washington state.

Other regions further south may also get a glimpse of the color-filled spectacle, the institute found. Wyoming, Nebraska, and Indiana are projected to have low visibility, and even Annapolis, Maryland, may get glimmers of the lights.

The weather prediction center issued a geomagnetic storm watch on Wednesday after detecting a small solar flare, a high-energy burst fired by a sunspot, that was followed by a coronal mass ejection (CME).

Northern Lights Visible In Pittsburgh This Weekend? Not Likely

Typically the lights are reserved for observers in the northern latitudes across Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia. But this weekend the aurora borealis is making a relatively rare appearance across large swaths of the US thanks to a solar flare, or an influx of charged particles, that erupted on March 20.

When the CME hits Earth, all those particles colliding with Earth’s magnetic field could turn up the range and the intensity of the aurora, also known as the northern and southern lights.

Saturdays aurora forecast from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)s Geophysical Institute. Auroras generally occur when charged particles from the sun form a fast-moving cloud. When these particles crash into Earths atmosphere, they release energy in the form of light, which most commonly appears as shimmering green, though it may also blend into hues of blue and red-purple depending on the altitude and the types of gases with which the particles collide. Solar flares, like the one that occurred on March 20, may supercharge the auroras glow so that its visibility extends farther than usual.

The experience is thanks to s geomagnetic storm that is expected to occur in the area Saturday. Typically geomagnetic storms create solar winds that cause gas particles in Earths atmosphere to radiate light when it hits them. Saturday that geo agent storm will be hit with a coronal mass ejections (CME), which is a collection of charged particles from the layer of gas that surrounds the sun, The Points Guy reports.

Northern Lights could be visible in NI

On Saturday, the Space Weather Prediction Center issued a moderate geomagnetic storm watch, which increases the likelihood of an intensified Northern Lights. Depending on if or when the particles collide with the Earths magnetic field, the Northern Lights may be bright enough to spot as far south as Iowa and Colorado.

As for where you might see them tonight, that answer is specifically extremely northern areas like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Maine. If the storm is a strong one, Chicago and New York could also see the lights. Canada, Scandinavia, and parts of northern Britain and Ireland also might have a chance of seeing the lights.

Northern lights may be visible in New York this weekend

Still, theres a chance the storm may not be entirely visible to any of these regions in the US. The ideal conditions for such an effect require clear and dark skies, which means that rural star-gazers will likely have an easier time spotting the lights than most city dwellers. It also doesnt help that the near-full moon Saturday night may obscure visibility.

Tonights #aurora storm is perfect for kids: best time is after sunset, before moonrise. So a “not-too-late” night + not a school night. Set expectations: theres a 50/50 chance the the storm is a no-go. Take them #stargazing, and if the #NorthernLights dance, BONUS! pic.twitter.com/hxmhvZZI7Z

Due to a rare solar flare, the Northern Lights are making a rare appearance for some Americans and Canadians. Typically, people travel from all over the world to see the Aurora Borealis in areas like Iceland and Norway, forever chasing these ephemeral green lights. Others would rather look down than up and chase beauties like the Sea of Stars in the Maldives, where bioluminescent plankton to emit a sparkling, electric blue light. Which phenomenon would you travel to see?

For the best results, the UAF Geophysical Institute recommends looking out for the aurora three to four hours before midnight.

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