Rare Northern Lights Might be Visible From the Capital Region Thursday Night
The Nothern Lights or Aurora Borealis might be visible to the Capital Region Thursday night depending on how cloudy it is. Partial clearing to possibly mostly clear skies will allow for much better viewing for any northern lights that could form for Thursday night.
According to The Nothern Lights Project, the Aurora Borealis will be visible much further south than usual due to Geomagnetic Storms that will cause a more vibrant and larger Northern Lights event.
Geomagnetic Storms are caused by solar winds and are categorized just like hurricanes. They range from a Category 1 that is very weak and barely affects the geomagnetic field, to a Category 5 that is extremely strong and can cause hours of vibrant auroras across Canada and the United States. Periods of active auroras can be seen as far south as Texas and Florida. A Category 5 can also disrupt cell phone service and satellite transmissions.
Thursday Geomagnetic Storm is a fairly common Category 3 and has the ability to produce Nothern Lights visible in much of the northeast.
The best time to see the aurora would be between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. Of course, if you're traveling north you'll have a better chance to see them.
According to Wikipedia, the Northern Lights are, " the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by the solar wind. These disturbances are sometimes strong enough to alter the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma. These particles, mainly electrons and protons, precipitate into the upper atmosphere. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emit light of varying color and complexity.