April 21, 2024

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Michigan could see the Northern Lights Tuesday and Wednesday night

Michigan could see the Northern Lights Tuesday and Wednesday night

Most areas of Michigan will be on alert to see the Northern Lights Tuesday night, and possibly even Wednesday night.

Twilight predictions from Space Weather Prediction Center It shows the possibility of seeing the aurora borealis Tuesday night as far south as Kalamazoo and east toward Port Huron. The further north you are, the better chance you have of seeing the lights.

Chances are smaller and further north on Wednesday night, so Tuesday night will be the best chance. You can see the forecast below for Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Northern lights forecast for Tuesday night. (NOAA)
Northern lights forecast for Wednesday night. (NOAA)

Tips for viewing the northern lights:

  • Look north! The aurora borealis will likely be on the horizon but higher in the sky the further north you are.

  • Dim the lights: Find an area with less light pollution for your best chance.

Take a photo of the lights? Post it on MIPics Local 4 here and we'll show it on TV.

A geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance in the Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a highly efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind to the space environment surrounding the Earth. These storms result from changes in the solar wind that produce large changes in currents, plasma and fields in the Earth's magnetosphere.

The effective solar wind conditions in creating geomagnetic storms are sustained periods (several to several hours) of high-speed solar wind and, more importantly, a southward-directed solar wind magnetic field (opposite the direction of Earth's field) on the dayside of the magnetosphere. This condition is effective for transferring energy from the solar wind to the Earth's magnetosphere.

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What is the aurora borealis?

The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the Sun that enter Earth's atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres.

It is known as the “Northern Lights” in the north and the “Australian Lights” in the south. Aurora displays come in many colors although bright green and pink are the most common. Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been reported.

Lights appear in many forms, from scattered spots or clouds of light to ribbons, arcs, undulating curtains or sheer rays that illuminate the sky with an eerie glow.

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