GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There will be a chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis in Michigan over the next three nights.
According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, a Geomagnetic Storm Watch will be in effect from 8 p.m. Thursday to 8 p.m. Sunday. A G1 (minor) storm watch is in effect for Thursday and Saturday nights, while a G2 (moderate) watch will be in effect for Friday night.
The Northern Lights are caused by energy and small particles from the sun interacting with the Earth’s atmosphere at our magnetic poles. When the particles from the sun interact with oxygen in our atmosphere, we see the vibrant green and red colors. We see purple and blue when the particles interact with nitrogen.
A solar storm can send higher concentrations of energy or particles toward Earth, which gives areas farther to the south (like Michigan) a better chance of seeing the colorful display.
The geomagnetic activity will be the highest Friday night into Saturday. Unfortunately, cloudy skies and possibly some heavy rainfall are in the forecast for that timeframe.
Clear conditions are expected for the early hours Thursday night into Friday, and areas to the north of Grand Rapids especially have a good chance of seeing clear conditions Saturday night. A new moon will arrive Saturday, so there will not be much moonlight to compete with the light from the Aurora.
For the best viewing, head to an area with minimal light pollution and look north.