Look Up! Northern Lights Could Be Visible Over New Jersey This Weekend
Assuming skies are clear, Mother Nature (or more specifically, the sun and earth) could make the nighttime sky glow just a bit above the Garden State this weekend.
NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a geomagnetic storm watch for this weekend following a recent coronal mass ejection from the sun.
And before we go any farther, let's define some terms.
Coronal mass ejections are defined as, "large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun’s corona" (i.e. a blast of energy shoots out of the sun's surface). When that plasma cloud hits our planet, a geomagnetic storm follows. Long story short, that plasma cloud interacts with the earth's atmosphere and the "northern lights" form (Earth & Sky provides a much more in-depth explanation, should you be interested).
Anyway, scientists believe the northern lights (a.k.a. "aurora borealis") will be visible along a line that stretches across the country from Oregon over to the DelMarVa, which would put New Jersey in a pretty good spot.
However, keep a couple of things in mind. First, obviously, the storm system that is bringing wind and rain to our area on Friday needs to get out of the way for the skies to clear. Secondly, you need to find a spot where there isn't a lot of light pollution -- in other words, get far away from shopping centers, the bright lights of cities, etc. -- the darker the sky is, the better chance you'll have of seeing something.
If you really want to track the chance of New Jersey seeing a nighttime light show this weekend, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks provides maps and all of the information you need. Click here, click on the "N America" map button, and then use the [today] or [next] buttons (depending on when you are reading this) to see the maps for Saturday and Sunday.