Will aurora borealis be visible in our region?

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 5:56 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Depending on where you are Thursday night, you may get a glimpse of the northern lights.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials say several eruptions from the Sun on Sunday are headed towards Earth. Those eruptions could cause strong geomagnetic storms as soon as Thursday. According to NOAA, those storms could shift the aurora borealis further south. That means people as far south from the polar region as Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oregon may be able to see the light show.

NOAA’s Bill Murtaugh says the geo-storms so far haven’t been as strong as they initially thought. However, because the eruptions have been ongoing, it’s still possible to get a glimpse of the aurora over the next 48 hours. “We just have to watch, wait and see here if we can get to that G3 level. Like I said, we’ve been at one and two and really we want to see the two to three level before we can be confident that we’ll see the Aurora up in New England,” he said.

A couple of other factors could influence viewing in our region. The moon is still about half-phase, so its brightness could outshine some aurora action. And cloud cover.

NOAA says the geo-storms could also cause some problems including disruption of the electric power grid as well as GPS, radio, and satellite operations.

Cat Viglienzoni spoke with NOAA’s Bill Murtaugh about what to expect.