Thanks to an enormous solar storm, the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, will be visible further south than in previous years.
The University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute predicts much of Canada and the northern fringes of the U.S. should see the northern lights. Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Seattle and Des Moines might see the shimmering colors low on the horizon.The Aurora is created as radiation that left the Sun enters into the Earth's atmosphere near the north or south polls. The Sun gives off a shower of ionized particles, with a negative charge that reacts with the positive charge in the Earth's atmosphere close to the North Pole (which is positive). Due to the recent Solar Pole Shifting, when the Sun's polarization flipped there will be a chance to catch this stunning spectacle from much more southerly regions than previously possible.
The Northern Lights are an absolutely beautiful display of lights and colors in the sky visible in the night sky, and are unlike anything you've ever seen. The shine in any color in magnificent shapes all over the sky, and you won't get another chance to see them.
This from EarthSky:
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation from the sun. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to affect our human bodies on the ground. However – when intense enough – they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.The X-Flares that are what has caused the radiation that produces the Aurora Borealis are such big flares that they're quite a bit bigger than the Earth!
So there will be a reward for those getting over the polar vortex, just be careful not to slip on ice as you search for the light show in space.
It's most definitely a good night to brave the uber-freezing temperatures for a bit and try and catch a glimpse of this awesome natural phenomenon. If you've got a warm enough coat, you can even take a romantic stroll and show off your knowledge of the stars.
So, if you manage to snap some pictures of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, in a place never done before, please share them with us. Happy sky-gazing!