A geomagnetic storm alert has been issued for Sept. 27 and Sept. 28, according to forecasters.
On the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center website, geomagnetic storm watches were issued for Sept. 27 and Sept. 28.
A G1, or “minor,” storm watch was issued for Friday and a G2, or “moderate,” storm watch was issued by the NOAA for Saturday.
“Geomagnetic activity is expected to rise on September 27th due to an increasingly disturbed solar wind field associated with effects of a positive polarity coronal hole high-speed stream (CH HSS),” the agency wrote. It added: “The solar wind environment is anticipated to become enhanced and solar wind speeds are expected to climb towards 650 km/s later on the 27th – likely causing G1 storm conditions. Geomagnetic activity is expected to escalate further in reaction to the elevated solar wind speed and likely reach G2 storm levels on Saturday, the 28th. ”
In a more detailed alert, the NOAA said that no “greater radio blackouts” can be expected on Sept. 28
“No significant active region flare activity is forecast,” it also said.
“The last time this happened, on August 31st and Sept. 1st, bright auroras were seen in both hemispheres from Russia to New Zealand. The skies of US states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Maine turned red and green as well. A repeat performance is possible in the nights ahead,” according to Spaceweather.com
A map posted by the NOAA shows that New York and Chicago residents might be able to view the Northern Lights.
Residents in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine may be able to see the Northern Lights.
If one wants to witness the Aurora Borealis, travel far away from cities as the light pollution interferes with one’s ability to see the night sky.
According to MLive, the storm watch will start on Thursday at around 8 p.m. in Michigan and last for roughly 48 hours.
The NOAA further explained: “The largest storms that result from these conditions are associated with solar coronal mass ejections where a billion tons or so of plasma from the sun, with its embedded magnetic field, arrives at Earth. CMEs typically take several days to arrive at Earth, but have been observed, for some of the most intense storms, to arrive in as short as 18 hours.”
NASA also said there is a difference between a solar flare and CME.
One of the worst solar storms ever recorded was the 1859 Carrington Event, which is said to have created an aurora around the world and caused telegraph wires to erupt into flames, CNET reported. If the same event were to happen today, it could produce disastrous results.