Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) are the results of electrons colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere—creating the beautiful appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky, especially near the northern or southern magnetic pole.
Previously, you need to travel to places like Norway and Iceland to watch the Aurora, but it seems that New York and Chicago residents may have a chance to see the Northern Lights over the weekend all thanks to a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun.
Northern lights reflected over Bear Lake, Alaska.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) posted a map on March 20 and mentioned that a G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for the 23 March 2019—due to anticipated CME arrival. The agency said that an asymmetric halo CME appeared to be partially directed at the Earth.
Map shows the potential for sightings of the Aurora Borealis over the weekend in the United States.
According to the map, the most likely area of an aurora event is between the green line and the yellow line—which appears to encompass parts of New York, northern Illinois (including Chicago), Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington state, Iowa, Michigan, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.
The very northern parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Indiana might be able to see the Northern Lights too.
That means a lot of us might be able to witness the Aurora coming our way very soon!
Direct Hit! Both #NOAA & #NASA prediction models agree we have an Earth-directed #solarstorm that will impact around 12pm March 23! This one is dense & strong so it could pack a decent punch! Expect #hamradio & #GPS disruptions on Earth's nightside, plus #aurora to mid-latitudes! pic.twitter.com/H3carfQR5m
— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) March 21, 2019
“An asymmetric halo CME was observed in SOHO/LASCO coronagraph imagery and initial analysis of the CME in both LASCO and STEREO-A coronagraph imagery shows an Earth-directed component is likely,” stated NOAA.
“The largest storms that result from these conditions are associated with solar coronal mass ejections where a billion tons or so of plasma from the sun, with its embedded magnetic field, arrives at Earth,” added NOAA.
“CMEs typically take several days to arrive at Earth but have been observed, for some of the most intense storms, to arrive in as short as 18 hours.”
— LaS.Shelom (@LaSShelom) March 22, 2019
If you wish to witness the breathtaking Aurora Borealis, be sure travel a bit far from the cities as the light pollution interferes with our ability to see the night sky. The skies must be clear and free of clouds too.
Credit: The Epoch Times