Aurora borealis observation possible in Michiana on Saturday


Astronomers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict that the northern lights, or aurora borealis, may be as visible to the south as the Michigan / Indiana border early Saturday morning and Saturday night.

Auroral manifestations often occur 2 to 4 days after a coronal mass ejection or solar flare. The incredibly hot molecules above the sun's surface "bump" and "bounce" over each other, causing explosive activity. Free electrons and protons are projected from the sun's surface and projected towards the earth by a solar wind.

As these molecules are positively and negatively charged, they can be driven or deflected by the Earth's magnetic field.

When charged particles enter the Earth's atmosphere, they react chemically with nitrogen, oxygen, and other gases that surround it.

A significant increase in sunspot activity next Wednesday will result in an increase in the vision potential for the northern lights this weekend.

For optimal viewing, find a place free of "light pollution" and head north! The lights will be visible along and north of the Indiana-Michigan border.

"Aurora borealis", the lights of the northern hemisphere, means "northern dawn".


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