The Northern Lights Will Be Visible Over the U.S. And Most Of Alaska Tonight

Auroral activity will be high(++). Weather permitting, highly active auroral displays will be visible overhead from Utqiaġvik to King Salmon, and low on the horizon from most of the Aleutians.

The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has issued G1, G2, and G3 geomagnetic storm watches for the nights of Wednesday, December 9, and Thursday, December 10. The brief period of a G3 storm alert on the night of December 9 could mean that the northern lights will be seen relatively far south in the continental United States. If it arrives as expected, some projections suggest it might even be seen as far south as Oregon, Nebraska, northern Missouri, and New Jersey, among many other places across the country.

The watches issued by the SWPC are a measure of the solar activity hitting Earth’s atmosphere. That solar energy can result in the beautiful auroral displays visible at both of the Earth’s poles. When an especially strong burst of solar energy from a coronal mass ejection (CME) arrives, that can make the aurora borealis visible in areas where it doesn’t appear with much frequency. You know, like much of the US.

Those predictions, however, are forecasts and not guarantees. “While SWPC forecasters are fairly confident in CME arrival at Earth, timing and geomagnetic storm intensity are less certain,” the center wrote in its alert.

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