Northern Lights 2 Reach Further South 9/6 to 9/7... Sept 6, 2017 16:42:00 GMT -5
Post by MCDemuth on Sept 6, 2017 16:42:00 GMT -5
Solar storms may ignite south-reaching auroras Wednesday
A geomagnetic storm headed from the sun toward Earth will crash into the atmosphere overnight Wednesday, triggering an extraterrestrial light show across the night sky, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center.
The sun emitted a huge cloud of super-heated plasma, known as a coronal mass ejection, on Monday, NOAA reported. The plasma, traveling at a speed of about 200 miles per second, is expected to crash into the Earth's atmosphere Wednesday, triggering strong geomagnetic storms. Exciting oxygen and hydrogen atoms in the atmosphere to release their photons in green, red and orange colors, the geomagnetic storms are expected to trigger auroras, the ghostly light shows also known as the northern and southern lights.
The storms are expected to light up unusually south-reaching auroras, observable from parts of the northern United States. The auroras might be visible from northeast Montana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, North Dakota, northeast South Dakota, Illinois and Oregon. People living in Canada are expected to get the best views, but those living in Scotland, northern England and Scandinavia will also likely be able to see the display, according to NOAA.
On Wednesday, space weather forecasters issued a watch for the G3-level (strong) geomagnetic storm, the middle classification on the five-level geomagnetic storm scale, above 'moderate' and below 'severe.' The storms could affect spacecraft operation or power grids, but the effects are expected to be minor. They may also impact migratory animals, such as sperm whales, birds and honey bees, by temporarily altering the Earth's magnetic fields.
Auroras are best seen in extremely dark skies with minimal light pollution. A full moon will rise Wednesday night, though, which may limit skygazers' visibility.
Eyes to the sky, Hoosiers! Northern lights may be visible in Indiana Wednesday night
INDIANAPOLIS -- A powerful sun storm earlier this week means there's a better than normal chance that the northern lights could be visible in Indiana Wednesday night.
According to space.com, the sun blasted out a huge cloud of coronal mass ejection on Monday that’s expected to slam into the earth overnight Wednesday, triggering strong geomagnetic storms.
Those are the same storms that supercharge Earth’s auroras, the dancing color also known as the northern and southern lights.
The aurora borealis should be visible late Wednesday into early Thursday morning from Washington and Idaho in the west to Indiana and Ohio in the Midwest and New England in the northeast, according to the NOAA.
One downside is that Wednesday night’s moon will also be full, which may dampen some of the light show.
You can track the northern lights and see if they're likely to reach your location, using SWPC's 30-minute aurora forecast tool.
For your best chance at seeing the northern lights, plan to watch the sky between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Active periods are typically about 30 minutes long and occur every two hours.