Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    Get Ready for the Northern Lights: A Spectacular Light Show Heading Our Way

    The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are set to make a dazzling appearance tonight, with a special treat for sky gazers in Michigan. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the sun was observed on September 16th and is expected to reach Earth on the 19th, resulting in a G2 level magnetic storm. This storm is likely to create the perfect conditions for the Northern Lights to be visible further south than usual.

    The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has forecasted a Kp Index of 6, which indicates that enough of the sun’s energy will be present to make the lights visible. The peak time for this energy to hit Earth is expected to be between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Tuesday, September 19th.

    In order to get the best view of the Northern Lights, it is important to have clear skies and minimal light pollution. Luckily, Michigan is expected to have clearing skies and very little moonlight tonight, creating optimal viewing conditions. For those in the southern half of Lower Michigan, it is recommended to head north of Bay City, Midland, and Mount Pleasant for the best chance at witnessing this rare phenomenon.

    It is important to note that the timing of the Northern Lights can be unpredictable. Space weather forecasters can only provide updates about an hour before the energy hits Earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, it will be midnight or later before we know for certain if the lights will be visible.

    If you’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights, tonight presents a unique opportunity to witness this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. Make plans to be in northern or central Lower Michigan tonight, and be prepared to wake up early in the morning. The lights are elusive, but with clear skies, minimal moonlight, and the right location, you may just be treated to a spectacular display of the Northern Lights.

    – NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC)