Northern Lights


New Yorkers May Get To See Northern Lights This Weekend

March 22, 2019 - 4:31 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New Yorkers might be in for a rare treat this weekend: the northern lights are expected to be visible in some parts of the state.

The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has issued a ‘G2’ (moderate) geomagnetic storm watch for Saturday.

According to WCBS 880’s chief meteorologist Craig Allen, the SWPC observed a coronal mass ejection (CME) on Wednesday, which is a significant release of plasma on the sun, and when the flare reaches Earth, it produces the Aurora Borealis.

Typically, the phenomenon, commonly known as the northern lights, can only be seen from high latitudes, such as the North Pole. But, because of the intensity of the flare, parts of New York and possibly New Jersey will be able to see it this time around.

“However, you need clear skies for that,” Allen notes.

Thankfully, Allen predicts a clear forecast for Saturday, when the flare is expected to reach the mid-Atlantic area.

“It'll be cold, but the sky does look clear,” Allen says. “So get to a dark spot, stay away from the city lights, look north and you just might get to see something fascinating.”

Allen, who has never seen the northern lights himself, does note that lights aren’t expected to be as bright as they could be in Canada, Sweden or Norway.

Northern Lights predictions

The solar flare that causes the Aurora Borealis can also disrupt the power grid, spacecraft operations and radio waves.

If the flare is strong enough, residents in Chicago and Boston may also see the lights, but it’s important to avoid any areas with heavy light pollution.