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Where Can I See The Northern Lights in the U.S. This Weekend - Sagar research Center


Where Can I See The Northern Lights in the U.S. This Weekend - Sagar research Center

Northern Lights in 2024 : - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a rare geometric storm watch—the first in nearly 20 years — that scientists have deemed an "unusual event." In Massachusetts, the clouds may clear out enough for folks who live as far south as the Cape to see the aurora at predawn on Saturday.

Strong solar storm headed toward Earth could produce the Northern Lights in the U.S. and potentially disrupt communications this weekend. Almost all of New England will have a chance to see the Northern Lights on Friday and Saturday, if clouds stay away.

Solar flares are often accompanied by coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, which are explosions of plasma and magnetic material from the sun. Bill Murtagh, program coordinator for the SWPC and seasoned space weather forecaster, previously told Nexstar that CMEs are “essentially the Sun shooting a magnet out into space.”

Who Will See The Northern Lights? : -

As of Thursday afternoon, the SWPC’s aurora forecast for Friday shows Canada and Alaska will have the best chance of seeing the northern lights. In the continental U.S., those in the northern portions of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and almost all of North Dakota have the greatest likelihood of seeing the aurora.

Residents living in the southern portions of those states, as well as Oregon, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine may also get to see a glimpse of the aurora on their northern horizons.

What Does The Current Geomagnetic Storm Watch Mean? : -

On Tuesday, the SWPC was already warning of an “increased solar flare risk” from two regions on the sun. By Thursday morning, the SWPC was reporting that both regions had produced X1 level flares and that some had produced multiple CMEs.

As of Thursday afternoon, the SWPC has issued a G4 geomagnetic storm watch, explaining that “the CMEs are anticipated to merge and arrive at Earth by late on May 10th or early on May 11 to 12th.”

“The aurora may become visible over much of the northern half of the country, and maybe as far south as Alabama to northern California,” the agency wrote.

We saw a G4 level geomagnetic storm watch issued in March, but the storming reached its peak during the daylight hours in the U.S., meaning most didn’t have the chance to see the aurora.

What Causes The Northern Lights? : -

We have CMEs to thank for the northern lights. When CMEs reach Earth’s magnetic field, they spark a big interaction known as a geomagnetic storm.

According to NASA, CMEs create currents in Earth’s magnetic fields that send particles to the North and South Poles. When those particles interact with oxygen and nitrogen, they can create auroras.

Geomagnetic storms are categorized by the SWPC on a 5-point scale. At the lowest end is G1, which is described as minor storms that can lead to aurora being visible in Maine and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A G5 storm, described as extreme, could send the northern lights as far south as Florida and southern Texas.

Which Month is Best For Northern Lights? : -

The best months for viewing the northern lights are typically during the winter months, when the nights are the longest. These extended periods of darkness provide greater opportunities to see the auroras.

The prime months for Northern Lights viewing are late September to early April. The peak season is generally from October to March, according to the Aurora Zone, a travel company specializing in trips to see the northern lights.

Why Northern Lights are so Special? : - 

The northern lights provide valuable insights into environmental processes such as magnetic field interactions, ionospheric and atmospheric dynamics and the broader field of space weather, according to Space.com.

Studying the auroras contributes to our understanding of solar-terrestrial relationships and enhances space weather forecasting.

The auroras also have cultural and mythological significance. Many Indigenous cultures and other societies have legends and stories associated with the northern lights. According to some beliefs, the northern lights are considered spirits or celestial beings.

The Sámi people, who inhabit northern parts of Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden, believed that whistling, waving or singing under them is thought to attract and disturb them and that doing so might lead to unfavorable consequences or disruptions in the natural balance.


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