Did you see the Northern Lights? There is still a chance through Sunday, according to NOAA

Published 1:52 pm Saturday, May 11, 2024

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Did you catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights Friday night or early Saturday morning? If not, there still may be a chance to see them brightening the skies through Sunday, according to NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. On May 9, the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center issued its first “severe geomagnetic storm watch” since January 2005. According to NOAA, space weather forecasters have observed at least seven coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun. Impacts are expected to persist through Sunday, May 12, 2024.

The space prediction center says the auroras will be visible again Saturday night, weather permitting. Unfortunately, the weather forecast shows Southampton County to be under partly to mostly cloudy skies Saturday night, which could impact visibility.

Experts recommend finding dark sky locations away from city lights to maximize the chances of seeing auroras. Check out the dark skies map here to get an idea of the best locations in your area.

“This is an unusual and potentially historic event, “said Clinton WallaceDirector of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

CMEs are explosions of plasma and magnetic fields from the sun’s corona. When directed at Earth, they cause geomagnetic storms. These storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on Earth’s surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio, and satellite operations. SWPC has notified the operators of these systems so they can take protective action.

Geomagnetic storms can also trigger spectacular displays of aurora on Earth. A severe geomagnetic storm includes the potential for aurora to be seen as far south as Alabama and Northern California.