Solar Storm Incoming!

Chances are you have heard of the incoming solar storm and us here in the Midwest may get a special appearance of the northern lights Friday night. Here is what we know now: the sun unleashed a Major X1.6 solar flare from the center of the suns disk which puts it in prime position for us to be impacted by the CME (Coronal Mass Ejection-Cloud of gas ejected from the sun). Not only did we have an X-flare, a day earlier we had an M-class flare that is expected to hit us tonight, both of these events should put on a spectacular show of the northern lights if all of the ingredients come together.


The Space Weather Prediction Center has us under a G2 Moderate (KP6) Geomagnetic storm watch starting night at 6PM this evening and G3 Strong (KP7) Geomagnetic storm watch starting at 6PM Friday.


So what do those geomagnetic storm watches mean for us here in Iowa? Below is a look at the Auroral oval as we would see it here during each of those storming conditions. The green line below the oval is the “view line” where you would, under good conditions, be able to see the aurora low on the horizon.


Predicted for Thursday Night:


Predicted for Friday night:


Unfortunately tonight we will be under mostly cloudy skies and will likely not get any clearing with the exception of far northeast Iowa. Tomorrow should be a different story as we start of the evening partly cloudy and clouds will begin to diminish. Here is a look at cloud cover at 10PM tomorrow evening:


To get aurora alerts via Facebook, “Like” Great Lakes Aurora Hunters Alerts on Facebook and join the aurora conversation on the Great Lakes Aurora Hunters group. I will also be posting updates directly to the ISCN facebook page if I get any reports or see the aurora myself.

Happy Aurora Hunting!

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