Northern lights viewing possible in the southern Appalachians Friday night


A lot of focus has been given to Hurricane Irma, and rightfully so! However, there is something else going on that warrants some attention too - the possibility of viewing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in the Southern Appalachians on Friday night.

On Wednesday, a solar flare ejected out from the sun. This flare sent out a coronal mass ejection, or a wave of charged particles. Since this takes a few days to reach Earth, that's why the Aurora Borealis may be seen by Friday night instead of earlier.

Once this wave meets up with the earth's magnetic field, the show goes on!

The Space Weather Prediction Center has outlined an area of possibility to view the lights after 9 or 10 Friday night. We are on the very edge, assuming that the geomagnetic storm maintains its strength.

In order to see the Aurora, you'd have to go away from city lights and look north. That way, you stand at least a chance of seeing a glow on the horizon.

Generally, the stronger the interaction with the earth's magnetic field - the farther south the lights can be seen. The latest observation (as of Friday morning) noted that the storm peaked at a G4 rating, or a 'Severe' geomagnetic storm.

Other impacts that are possible from something like this are listed below.

Keep in mind. This geomagnetic storm has no impact on Irma, its track or its intensity. For more on Irma, be sure to visit our forecast summary.

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