21 Aug 2014
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Solar Storm May Bring Northern Lights to the Area

Sky watchers may be in for a treat the next two nights as the Northern Lights are predicted to dip south and allow residents in Metro Detroit a glimpse of the aurora borealis.

Sky watchers may not have to go too far north to see the Northern Lights due to a large solar storm which reached Earth Thursday morning.

The storm, which started with an eruption of a solar flare on the sun March 6,  grew and expanded like a giant soap bubble, according to a story by the Associated Press, and struck Earth traveling at 4 million mph.

When these electrically charged particles reached the Earth's magnetic field, some get trapped and travel to the poles. According to NASA, when these particles strike atoms in the atmosphere, energy is released and which causes the auroras.

And with the large storm hitting Earth, the next two nights should cause the Northern Lights to dip south into the Great Lakes region and Metro Detroit.

"The aurora will extend further south in latitude and we will be in the viewing area tonight and tomorrow night," said Matt Mosteiko, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake.

Mosteiko said the rain and clouds should clear later today, and provide a partly cloudy sky until midnight. Friday night should be partly cloudy throughout the night.

The Northern Lights will be best seen away from city lights, and possibly from higher elevations. Mosteiko added that the prime viewing area may drop as far south as Bay City.

"The further north you go, the better," he added.

In addition to providing a light show, the solar storm may cause some fluctuations in the power grid and impact satellites, according to NOAA.

If you capture an photo or video of the Northern Lights, share them in our Neighborhood Gallery.

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