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Aurora Borealis may be visible in the northern U.S. this weekend

We likely won't be able to see it this time around.

ROANOKE, Va. – The Aurora Borealis (aka. Northern Lights) is on many people's bucket lists. For our friends and family well north of here, they stand the checking that off the list this weekend. 

While a significant early fall snowstorm dominates headlines in the Rockies, a geomagnetic storm will be taking place. 

A solar flare sends out a wave of charged particles, known as a coronal mass ejection. This wave meets up with the earth's magnetic field, which sets off the aurora.

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, this geomagnetic storm is forecast to be a G2. Storms of this rating do not produce widespread problems for power systems or spacecraft operations.

When the aurora was visible here in 2015, that storm was rated a G4. So as you can imagine, we won't be able to see the aurora this time. 

Areas north of the yellow line shown on the map below will have the chance to see it. Areas above the green line will have the greatest chance. This includes parts of Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern Maine.

About the Author:

Meteorologist Chris Michaels is an American Meteorological Society (AMS) Certified Broadcaster, forecasting weather conditions in southwest Virginia on WSLS 10 News from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. weekdays on Virginia Today.