Introduction of Revised forecast:Limited States to Witness Northern Lights Phenomenon:
The anticipated sighting of the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, has been revised to a smaller number of states than initially predicted. The University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute, which originally forecasted high activity, has now downgraded the chances of viewing the phenomenon in numerous locations.
Updated Viewing Locations:
Weather permitting, the active aurora borealis is expected to be visible on July 12 and 13 in select areas of Alaska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, and parts of Canada. This is a narrower range compared to the previous forecast, which had included 17 states over the two-day period.
Reasons for Revision:
The Geophysical Institute clarified that while they initially projected a moderate solar storm, the solar features responsible for the prior activity have diminished over the past month. As a result, the likelihood of high levels of activity previously anticipated has decreased significantly.
NOAA’s Revised Forecast:
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had also initially predicted high activity but adjusted their forecast accordingly. Bryan Brasher, a project manager at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, explained that one specific coronal hole showed diminished activity upon closer examination, leading to the revision.
Geomagnetic Storm Scale and Necessary Conditions:
To witness the Northern Lights from mid-latitude states, a geomagnetic storm rating of G3 or higher would be required. However, the current forecast falls below this threshold. Previous G4 storms in late March and April allowed the aurora borealis to be visible as far south as Arizona and Oklahoma.
Optimal Viewing Conditions:
For the best chance to observe the lights, clear and dark skies are essential. The institute suggests that the auroras are most visible closest to the equinox, during the spring and fall when days are longest. The lights generally occur every 27 days and result from solar storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides an animated forecast of the lights’ movement, recommending viewing within an hour or two of midnight, typically between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time.
The revised forecast for the northern lights indicates that the phenomenon will be visible in fewer states than previously expected. While limited viewing opportunities remain, those in select areas of Alaska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maine, and parts of Canada may still have the chance to witness this captivating natural spectacle.
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