Northern Lights

There is a lot of buzz about potential solar storm this week. The Space Weather Prediction Center issued a G3 Geomagnetic Storm Watch for Thursday, Dec 10th. The yellow line on the map shows the furthest southward potential for the Northern Lights could be observed.

Photo courtesy of NOAA

You might be able to spot something unusual in the sky this week. According to the internet’s skywatchers, the Earth is in for a fantastic display of the Northern Lights during the next 48 hours, and the lights might be visible in more southerly locations than usual.

Typically, the Northern Lights are visible in places like Iceland, Norway and Canada. Occasionally northern states in the US get a display too. But if predictions are correct, the aurora could be visible as far south as Iowa and Illinois and possibly even northern Wyoming.  

The lights are courtesy of a solar flare which recently sent huge numbers of charged particles towards Earth. Those particles are what causes the aurora to be seen.

The aurora appears above the northern horizon as a faint, green glow. The further north you are, the brighter it should appear and the higher in the sky. For skywatchers in northern Wyoming, if the aurora are visible it will most likely be visible on the northern horizon.

The best time to try and view the aurora borealis will be from 9 p.m. to midnight tonight away from city lights and in an open space with a good view of the northern horizon.

Executive editor

Jen Sieve-Hicks is the Bulletin's executive editor. She has covered schools, agriculture and government for the Bulletin.

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