Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who Could See Auroras This Weekend?

As a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) quickly advances towards Earth, the question lingering is who will be able to see the auroras from this? Let's look at a little background first.

The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) rates geomagnetic storms like this one from G1 to G5, G1 being the weakest and G5 being strongest. According to the SWPC website on what the effects of each strength level are (link), G1 allows auroras to be seen as far south as Northern Michigan and Maine.

The SWPC is alerting everyone that this CME will be able to pose a geomagnetic strength of G1 to possibly G2. This means that the following places could see auroras in either G1 or G2.

G1: North Michigan and Maine can see auroras.

G2: Auroras can be observed roughly on the 55 latitude line, which includes New York and Idaho.

If I were to make a guess right now of who could see auroras as the CME passes, I would say the North Plains, Upper Midwest, northern New England, and the far Northwest. If the CME is stronger than expected, I could see parts of the Plains, Midwest and Northeast also seeing an aurora display.


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