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Here you can see Aurora Borealis tonight

Topline

Forecasters predict that a geomagnetic storm could create enough solar activity to create visible northern lights in parts of Canada and the U.S. Friday and Saturday nights, although they won’t be as intense as the northern lights observed last month.

Key facts

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a warning saying that a G2 geomagnetic storm occurred on Friday, which means that because there is moderate solar activity, there is a chance to see the Northern Lights on Friday evening.

This G2 geomagnetic storm could cause “moderately intense” disruptions to Earth’s magnetic field, and the storm’s intensity could fluctuate between low and moderate over the course of the event, NOAA said.

Canada has a better chance of seeing the lights, while they could be visible in many parts of the continental U.S. until Saturday evening, according to the warning.

Friday night’s aurora is expected to have a Kp index of three, meaning the lights will move further from the poles and appear brighter to observers, NOAA said.

However, aurora’s are notoriously difficult to predict, and because Friday’s geomagnetic storm is not as strong as the storms that produced the vibrant auroras in May, Friday night’s lights, if they are visible, will not be as prominent.

Where will the Northern Lights be visible tonight?

Although it is difficult for astronomers to determine where the Northern Lights will be visible, they could be visible as far south as New York, Washington and Wisconsin, according to NOAA’s alert. Other states within the line of sight include Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan and Maine.

What is the best way to see the Northern Lights?

The lights are most active between 10pm and 2am. For the best view of the Northern Lights, the agency recommends traveling as close to the poles as possible, avoiding city lights and other light pollution, checking the weather forecast for optimal viewing conditions and positioning yourself at a vantage point such as a hilltop. Smartphone cameras are sensitive enough to catch the aurora even if it is invisible to the naked eye. Visit Iceland, a tourism website for Iceland, where the lights are often visible, advises that turning on night mode is best to increase the smartphone camera’s exposure.

Important background

An event called Solar Cycle 25 – the cycle the sun goes through about every eleven years – has been the cause of geomagnetic storms that have resulted in recent sightings of the Northern Lights, and NASA predicts this will continue into next year. Cycle 25 began in December 2019 and is estimated to reach its maximum – when activity is expected to peak – in July 2025. It is expected to peak with 115 sunspots, where geomagnetic storms form. Although the maximum has not yet been reached, the sun’s activity has been busier than scientists expected, so it is possible that there will be more geomagnetic storms in the run-up to 2025, although it is difficult to predict exactly when these storms will occur. will take place.

Tangent

The Northern Lights are a beam of colored light visible in the night sky, created when particles from the Sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed. These particles are formed from clouds created by solar storms on the sun’s surface. Although most particles are deflected, some remain trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic field then directs these particles to the north or south pole, creating the lights.

Read further

Northern Lights 2024: Here’s where to see the next Aurora Borealis (Forbes)

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