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Northern lights may be visible in parts of the United States due to geomagnetic storms

A Sunday solar flare means auroras may be visible in parts of the United States and Canada on Wednesday, weather officials said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a geomagnetic storm watch for Wednesday and Thursday. The solar flare was associated with a partial coronal mass ejection, a large ejection of plasma and magnetic field lines from the Sun’s corona – the outermost part of its atmosphere. If the CME arrives as expected, G2, or moderate, storm conditions are expected Wednesday with G1, or minor, expected Thursday.

Solar flares can cause radio blackouts, according to NOAA.

Geomagnetic activity can make the Northern Lights visible. According to NOAA, auroras may be visible in northern parts of the United States, such as northern Michigan and Maine, on Wednesday night. It can also be seen as low as New York, Wisconsin, and Washington state. Lights can also be seen in parts of Alaska and Canada.

Aurora visibility forecast for May 10, 2023


For the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights, visit a location with low light pollution and clear skies. NOAA has a nightly forecast for lighting. Experts say space weather is difficult to predict, so there are no guarantees.

Astronomy fans may start seeing the northern lights more often than usual, NOAA space scientist Rob Stenberg said in April. The sun’s activity is expected to continue to increase, which means more opportunities to see the aurora.

A new solar cycle began in late 2019, according to NASA. A new cycle occurs approximately every 11 years when the Sun reverses its magnetic pole. The current cycle, Solar Cycle 25, is expected to be most active in mid-2024.

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Aliza Chasan

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