May 28, 2022
Posted: December 9, 2020 7:26 pm
Tonight you may get a glimpse at something that will make your 2020 much better. The Aurora Viewing of the northern lights should be visible tonight. The lights are headed towards the earth today.
The large amount of beautiful energy will be ejected from the sun headed towards us for our viewing pleasure. As this bright energy dance with the earth’s atmosphere, the beautiful lights may form. Best of all, the Kp level is at a 7, predicted by The Space Weather Prediction Center. This level means there should be dynamic aurorae that are visible in the southern sky. The aurora borealis should be so bright that it is visible at the Great Lakes, New England, the Central Plains, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest.
The best time to step outside to try to see these lights is between 10 pm to 1 am CST. You need to be in a dark area with a large space. You should let your eyes adjust for about 15 minutes. The lights are easiest to see when the sky is clear.
The swirls of bright colors are a sight to see. How are they made? It all starts with the bright sun itself. The sun creates sunspots with is overlapping magnetic fields. As these spots boil and essentially blow up, the plasma escapes from them. They burst into space at full force. As they travel towards the Earth, they plan for the 93 million mile trip. As they do this, the aurora lasts for about 40 hours.
This doesn’t happen all of the time. The sun goes in 11-year solar cycles. The last time the sky lit up like this was in 2013. The Earth is shielded by its magnetic shield keeping out radiation and magnetic waves. The solar wind particles from the lights’ energy are drawn by this magnetic field toward the north and south poles. They aren’t bright lights of color until they mix with the oxygen, nitrogen and other molecules in our atmosphere.
The colors of the lights appear like a rainbow. They’re a swirl of blue, purple, orange, white, green, red, yellow, and pink. Some are more dominant than others. The most popular colors are green and yellow. The nitrogen produces more blue colors. The science goes even deeper. Depending on the type of collision into the earth and the altitude, you will get different colors. The color red is only seen at the highest altitudes.
The equinox has power over the lights. The longer hours of pitch black in the polar regions work with the equinoxes to strengthen the light displays. This year it is especially working together. The Earth’s axis is tilted by 23.5° during this time. That means it is perpendicular to the Sun. The solar wind’s magnetic field faces south at this time. This means there is a direct link between the solar wind and the planet.
Of course, as the name implies, it’s best to see these lights farther north. If the skies are clear, you might be able to see them farther south. Solar winds never stop crashing into our planet. You can truly only see these when it’s pitch black.
There’s never a guarantee that you will see the lights. They can crash into the Earth at any time of day. If they show up during the day, no one can see them all. If they come at night, you should be able to see them if there are no clouds in the sky. Even at the Arctic Circle, it’s tough to find a night without any clouds. They’ll be there dancing in the sky often hidden by the clouds. Many experts and scientists try to predict the light show in the sky. It’s all about luck and the chance that you finally get to actually see them. It’s important to check them out as soon as you get a glimpse. These Northern Lights can happy at any time, but there is never any guarantee that you will get to see them.
If you want to try to spot these lights, step outside tonight. Check out The Space Weather Prediction Center’s forecast to see the intensity of the lights’ activity. They track the lights around the world telling you when to look into the sky. Happy Hunting!
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