We might see the northern lights this weekend

North Auroral Forecast Image

Northern Hemisphere Southern Hemisphere

If you've always wanted to see the Northern Lights, they'll be a little bit closer to California this weekend. This set off a chain of events that led up to a CME, or Coronal Mass Ejection. The darker your sky, the better.

A coronal mass ejection is an unusually large release of plasma and magnetic field from the solar corona. This CME is now headed for earth and has prompted a Geomagnetic Storm Watch issued by the Space Center part of NOAA. If the flares are really powerful, the southern extent of the aurora can make it into New England and this could be the case Sunday night. A watch in this case is similar to other weather watches we have.

A massive sunspot has appeared recently, several times larger than the Earth, which is likely to generate a display of the aurora borealis.

South Auroral Forecast Image
Northern Hemisphere Southern Hemisphere

There are many sources for the latest solar activity and real-time Kp levels.

Scientists are already getting excited about this CME and possible aurora. That's because the energy levels tend to fluctuate wildly during a geomagnetic storm greatly affecting how far south the Northern Lights are visible. Twitter is another good resource to check out the possibility of seeing the northern lights. I will definitely be tweeting updates Sunday night if things start looking promising. Having a view to the northern horizon will provide the best opportunity to witness the phenomenon.

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