After seeing some of the best meteor showers and special events of the year, August closes with its biggest ever spectacle. As reported by Forbes the Northern Lights will be visible in several northern US states in the lower 48 this weekend, including Maine, Wisconsin and Michigan.
What causes the northern lights?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast geomagnetic storms G1 and G2 for August 31 and September 1, 2019. The aurora borealis is caused by solar particles that collide with gas molecules in the atmosphere. When electrons from the sun come into contact with oxygen and nitrogen, they release some of their energy to the gases. The colorful bands of light we observe from the ground are those molecules that calm down and emit photons into the sky.
Normally, the phenomenon is only visible in the northernmost latitudes, where the earth's magnetic field and thus solar energy are strongest. However, the impending geomagnetic storm is expected to hit the earth with a concentrated dose of solar particles and possibly cause the northern lights to appear farther south than usual.
Where and When to See the Northern Lights
The first sunstorm of The Weekend is scheduled for Saturday, August 31
As with any nightly spectacle, the best time to catch the Northern Lights is when the sky is darkest. This means that you have to wait until late at night or early in the morning to check and find a place that will not be washed out by light pollution. Fortunately, the solar storms follow the supernumerary on August 30, so the sky will be particularly dark this weekend.