The Northern Lights may be visible as far as Chicago and New York over the weekend, meteorologists have predicted.
The unique occasion is the result of a solar flare on the surface of the sun Wednesday that produced a cloud of charged particles known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The CME, when it collides with Earth Saturday, could intensify the bright lights of the Aurora Borealis, making it possible to see in Northern parts of the US including Washington state, New York, Illinois and Wisconsin.
According to meteorologist Joe Charlevoix, the lights will be visible Saturday night, as clear skies are predicted.
“This is not a guarantee but conditions are favourable,” he said on Twitter.
When the sun set off the solar flare explosion on Wednesday, it caused disruptions for radio operators in Europe and Africa, according to CNET.
— Northern Lights Now (@NorthLightAlert)March 21, 2019
Typically, the Northern Lights are visible in parts of Europe including Norway, Sweden and Finland.
A G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for the 23 March, 2019 UTC-day due to anticipated CME arrival. The CME was associated with a C4 flare on 20 March, 2019 at 1118 UTC (0718 EDT). Continue to monitor our SWPC webpage for additional updates. pic.twitter.com/tjZIGFiLSz— NOAA Space Weather (@NWSSWPC)March 20, 2019
In North America, Alaska often offers views of the colourful lights, the result of charged particles from the sun colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere.
If conditions are favourable, it will be possible to see the Northern Lights without additional viewing equipment on Saturday night.
For best viewing, it is recommended that you move away from city lights.