Aurora borealis predicted in US

October 30, 2021
Alaska's 20-hour-long summer days give you plenty of time to check items off your must-do list but they also mean it's hard to experience the Northern Lights.
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From Seattle to Maine, a huge swath of states across the Northeast and as far west as the state of Washington could have a chance to see the northern lights this Halloween weekend, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute.

Depending on the weather and factors like light pollution, millions of Americans as far south as Pennsylvania could see the aurora borealis, or northern lights, as early as Saturday night. 

The Geophysical Institute shows northern parts of states including New York, Maine, North Dakota, Michigan and Wisconsin and all of New England could see a glimpse of the lights.

If weather allows, “highly active auroral displays” will be seen from be visible overhead in Portland, Oregon and New York City, according to the Geophysical Institute. 

Additionally, areas even farther south could have a chance to see the lights low on the horizon, the institute says. Those areas include Carson City, Nevada; Oklahoma City and Raleigh.

The phenomenon comes due to a “strong” geomagnetic storm was created by a significant solar flare and coronal mass ejection from the sun on Thursday, Oct. 28. Thanks to this storm, the lights will be visible from Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, according to NOAA. 

The strongest part of the storm and the best time to see the Northern Lights is expected to arrive between 5 and 8 p.m. ET on October 30, according to the NOAA’s predictions. 

Geomagnetic storm and Northern lights:Northern lights could be ‘a great show’ in some states this weekend

The science behind solar flares:What’s a solar flare? And how can a geomagnetic storm make auroras visible in the US?

Residents near Seattle are predicted to have an “optimal” view of the lights, as well as in Montana. In Milwaukee, The National Weather Service forecasted a “possible ghostly green glow” as early as 5 p.m. 

However, to get your best chance of seeing the lights, NOAA suggests getting away from the city and light pollution. As predictions and times are due to change, you can keep track of the geometric storm using NOAA’s 30-minute prediction.

To find the clearest sky near you, use the light pollution map and dark site finder.

The aurora borealis, commonly known as the “northern lights” in the Northern Hemisphere, is created when charged particles from the sun interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere. 

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda





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