Some lucky areas in northern parts of the US might be able to look up and see aurora borealis tonight! A massive amount of energy ejected from the sun Monday is headed towards us today, bringing the Northern Lights.
The Space Weather Prediction Center says 10 pm to 1 am EST tonight is the most likely time to see a “strong” (G3) geomagnetic storm hit Earth. If that happens, it would lead to good to great viewing conditions across all of the Great Lakes region, Pacific Northwest, Central Plains, Midwest and New England (as long as skies stay clear). For your best chance to see it, try to avoid city lights and go to a wide-open space with a view of the northern horizon. Give yourself 15 minutes to have your eyes adjust to the darkness, and be patient! Skies in these regions are expected to stay mainly clear through tonight giving us the best chance for viewing.
A powerful solar flare on the sun launched a charged cloud of plasma toward the Earth on Monday. Charged particles will hopefully interact with Earth’s magnetic field to create the Northern Lights very high in the atmosphere. If the plasma cloud is large enough, it will start to overwhelm the planet’s magnetic field, pushing the aurora oval south into the United States. There is also a chance for some shooting stars tonight as Geminids, the biggest meteor shower of the year, peaked earlier this week and is still trickling through the sky!