NEW YORK – New Yorkers may get a rare glimpse of the Northern Lights Monday night due to a solar storm expected to hit Earth.
The Northern Lights – aka aurora borealis – have enchanted humanity for millennia and inspired all kinds of folklore and myths. But the science behind the celestial light display is a bit complicated.
Basically, the Northern Lights are the result of rapidly moving particles from the sun colliding with oxygen and nitrogen gas in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The aurora typically hangs around our planet’s magnetic north pole. But because of the latest geomagnetic storm – or disturbance in the Earth’s magnetosphere – forecasters say the Northern Lights may be visible in states as far south as New York and Virginia.
According to forecasters, a G2 storm could disrupt power grids and affect spacecraft.
Most often is auroras originally appear as high rays resembling a colorful curtain made of folds of cloth, according to NOAA.
“During the evening, these rays form arcs that extend from horizon to horizon,” the agency said on its website. “Late at night, near midnight, the arches often begin to twist and sway, as if a wind were blowing on the curtains of light. At some point, the arches may expand to fill the entire sky, move rapidly and become very bright. This is top of what is called an auroral sub-storm. “
We can not really predict where in New York you will see the Northern Lights (if at all). But it’s probably best to stay away from the city. You know – because of light pollution.
If you take a photo of the Northern Lights, you can share it with Patch! It can be viewed on our website and social media. Send an email to Alessia.Grunberger@patch.com with the correct photo credit. The image must belong to you, or you must have permission to distribute the image to Patch.