If you’re in northern US states this week, look up at the after-midnight sky. A geomagnetic storm is predicted to occur on 27 and 28 June, which means that the Northern Lights may be seen if you’re in the right place at the right time.
Weather forecast technology, what would we do without you?
It’s happening this week
A three-day forecast by the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) noted that a minor G1 geomagnetic storm will happen on 27 June between 3am and 6am, and on 28 June between 12am and 3am, all in Universal Time.
Location, location, location
According to the charts, north-eastern states in the US – Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin – are likely to be able to enjoy the aurora. The lights may also be seen from Canadian provinces British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. On that side of the world on Wednesday 27 June, the phenomenon could be happening right now as we’re writing this.
Someone in Manitoba already caught a light show shortly after midnight on Tuesday in Plumes, Manitoba.
— Donna (@LachDonna) June 27, 2018
How to see the Northern Lights
On top of geographic serendipity, other factors need to be considered – the aurora is a shy thing. Head out to a dark area where there are no city lights nearby. Moonlight will also interfere with your visibility and, needless to say, a cloudy night will just cancel all your plans.
Why you shouldn’t miss it
The sun, which affects the frequency and intensity of the auroras, is currently experiencing less activity, so the auroras will be weaker and appear less frequently over the next several years. This week’s occurrence is a rare one – we call it reason enough to stay up late (or get up really early), and maybe even take the next day off. Good luck!