Geomagnetic Storm Watch issued; northern lights very possible
The Space Weather Prediction Center has already issued a G1 Geomagnetic Storm Watch and a G2 Geomagnetic Storm Watch for Friday night and early Saturday morning.
The last time we saw a geomagnetic storm of this magnitude the northern lights made their way into Minnesota, Wisconsin, Upper and Lower Michigan, and even parts of Iowa and northern Illinois.The forecasted uptick in geomagnetic activity is, "due to an increasingly disturbed solar wind field associated with effects of a positive polarity coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS)." In other words, charged particles from the Sun are expected to interact with Earth's magnetosphere at an elevated speed.
As a result, the northern lights are going to likely become visible across the northern tier of the United States and Canada.
This includes parts of the following states:
Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine.As is always the case with northern lights viewing, Mother Nature and the moon's phase need to be taken into account.
Fortunately, the moon will be non-existent as it's set to be in its "new" phase.
On the flip side, Mother Nature will likely not cooperate for many across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. Both Friday night and Saturday night will feature extensive cloud cover somewhere across the region.There will also be areas of rain and even thunderstorms for parts of Illinois, Indiana and Lower Michigan Friday night. That will throw a wrench into viewing the northern lights for those states if the current forecast holds. Saturday night doesn't look overly great either as of Wednesday evening.
As always, the forecast will change. And even very subtle changes will make all the difference if you hope to catch a glimpse of the aurora this weekend.
Something else to keep in mind when attempting to see the lights is they are oftentimes difficult to forecast.
It's hard to call any northern lights forecast a "home run" even if everything looks perfect. While this weekend's chances (especially Friday night) are pretty good based on the data and forecast, it's still not a guarantee.
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