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Solar Storm May Spark Northern Lights Over BC This Weekend

15 July 2017

Thanks to a geomagnetic storm from the sun, skywatchers across most of Canada and the northern USA should get a special treat Sunday night into Monday morning: A visit from the aurora borealis, aka the Northern Lights.

A massive sunspot has appeared recently, several times larger than the Earth, which is likely to generate a display of the aurora borealis. This explosion produced what scientists call a "coronal mass ejection (CME)" and it is headed straight for our planet.

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NOAA has predicted a geomagnetic storm of G2 strength, which would be a storm of moderate strength.

However, it's a forecast and the geomagnetic storm could be stronger or weaker when it impacts Earth.

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While Northern New England will have the best shot, Doody said the best thing residents in the Boston area can do is find the least-blocked view of the northern sky - but the further north you can get, the better.

The last time Canada saw the northern lights was near the end of May. These gases give off light from green to orange to red depending on the type of gas being excited by the charged solar particles.

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A kP 7 usually is needed to push the viewing opportunities south as far as the Pennsylvania-New York state line.

Solar Storm May Spark Northern Lights Over BC This Weekend