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Northern Lights could be seen as far south as northern Virginia Monday night

A geomagnetic storm could allow the Aurora Borealis to be seen a little farther south Monday night.

The aurora borealis over Latvia on the Baltic Sea.
The aurora borealis over Latvia on the Baltic Sea. (Edgars Pohevics/CNN iReport)

ROANOKE, Va. – A geomagnetic storm watch was issued by the Space Weather Prediction Center. The one forecast is rated a G2. Geomagnetic storms of this strength oftentimes will not produce the Aurora this far south.

What a geomagnetic storm means

This “storm” comes following a solar flare in the direction of Earth that occurred over the weekend.

The normal stream of charged particles from Sun to Earth is what leads to the typical sighting of the Northern Lights in high latitudes. (Electrically charged particles from the sun interact with the earth’s atmosphere.) When these extra charged streams occur, however, the Aurora can be seen farther south into parts of the United States.

It’s likely that parts of the northern U.S. will see the Aurora between Monday night and Tuesday night.

Aurora Borealis forecast for Monday night, 10/11/2021 according to the Geophysical Institute at University of Alaska Fairbanks

Depending on the actual strength of the geomagnetic storm, however, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks says that the Aurora could be seen low on the horizon as far south as “Salem, Boise, Cheyenne, Lincoln, Indianapolis and Annapolis.”

Aurora Borealis forecast for Monday night, 10/11/2021 according to the Geophysical Institute at University of Alaska Fairbanks

This closer examination confirms what we wrote earlier in this article - the Aurora Borealis will not be visible in our part of Virginia. *Insert disappointed face here.*


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.