The winter weather might bring something more than just snow!
Seeing the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights, is nearly always somewhere near the top of most people’s bucket lists. The incredible natural phenomenon creates a spectacle that people wait years, even lifetimes, to behold. The only caveat being that to see them clearly you need to venture towards countries closest to the Arctic and Antarctic circles that are, though stunning, extremely cold and often remote.
So what if we told you that the dazzling light spectacle might soon be visible in the skies of the Northeast? That trip to Iceland, Northern Canada, Greenland, or Norway might not be as necessary anymore as The Space Weather Prediction Center has predicted geomagnetic storms will likely allow the mystical light show to make a rare appearance in the skies across the United States.
With the G3 storm set to begin forming over the next 24 hours, Greg Diamond, Emmy-nominated meteorologist and weather producer, shared in a tweet that the Aurora might be visible for some areas of New York and New England, granted they are above the G3 line.
Okay, so this doesn’t mean New York City, but if you have friends in upstate New York or northern Connecticut, definitely give them the heads-up!
But don’t expect a flickering and swaying mesmeric performance, as the lights can vary, sometimes taking on many different colors, shapes, and textures but also sometimes just appearing still. “The most common appearance is a whitish-green haze, blob, or band on the northern horizon. Rarely red colors can show up off and on during strong geomagnetic storms,” says Toledo meteorologist Ross Ellet.
Wondering why and what has caused this? According to Ellet, “A powerful solar flare on the sun launched a charged cloud of plasma toward the earth. These charged particles are expected to interact with the 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 which will allow the aurora oval to slide south into the United States.”
Don’t worry, we’re equally as bamboozled, but excited nonetheless.
Space weather forecast accuracy is, of course, far from infallible and the northern lights aren’t guaranteed. If the night sky fails to impress you can always check into a Northern Lights Live Stream and get your fill from the comfort of your own home.