Aurora Visible Friday Night in North America

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29 Jun 2024 2:05 AM

The Aurora Borealis may be visible tonight for those in the far northern latitudes of the United States, along the Canadian border. Auroras are ribbons of brilliant light that usually appear around the northern latitudes when charged particles from the sun hit Earth's magnetic field. The particles shed energy as they collide with our atmospheric gasses, giving the aurora a spectacular glow of colors. Aurora Borealis is seen away from our poles and over the northern latitudes during stronger solar events. The aurora was visible in New York on Thursday night and will be again tonight!

Earlier Friday there was a level 4 out of 5 geomagnetic storm impacting the Earth, but due to the daylight hours across the eastern hemisphere, we did not get to see impacts from an aurora. Geomagnetic conditions have decreased to a level 1 for tonight. A G1 geomagnetic storm can lead to weak power grid fluctuations, minor satellite impacts, and impacts on migratory animals.

According to NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, "The increased geomagnetic activity was in response to the arrival of a coronal mass ejection (CME) that departed the Sun on June 25th. The CME was associated with a large filament eruption and analysis indicated a possible Earth arrival as a glancing blow today. Indeed, a disturbance in the solar wind was observed by an observation satellite one million miles from Earth at 5:12am EDT. This was the leading edge of the CME and when it arrived at Earth, geomagnetic conditions quickly intensified and eventually reached G3 levels. The G3 Warning is in effect until 5:00pm EDT [Friday]."

So how are the conditions for viewing what is left of the geomagnetic storm? There will be a decent amount of cloud cover over the Great Lakes and Dakotas limiting viewing. The best opportunity for clear skies will be through Montana and northern Idaho.

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