Could the Hudson Valley See the Northern Lights Tonight?
Residents over the Hudson Valley and other parts of the state may be treated to a bit of light show Monday night. Space.com is reporting that Aurora Borealis could be witnessed as far south as New York state, as a solar storm is expected to affect earth. Now, the big question, as always, is if the weather will hold over the area for prime viewing conditions?
The Aurora (or, Northern Lights) is caused by giant solar winds that carry ionize particles that end up slamming into the Earth's atmosphere near the poles. That is basically what causes the greenish ghostly lights in the sky, though they're not often seen in latitudes this far south. But while not an everyday occurance, the Northern lights have been witnessed as far south as the Hudson Valley and the Catskills before. Sometimes, these "space weather" predictions can lead to quite a showing in the night skies above us. And sometimes not. It's kind of like predicting the weather here on Earth.
Tonight's geomagnetic storm is rated a G2, on a scale of 1 to 5. So, in this case we're expecting a fairly weak storm that doesn't pose any major threat to Earth or any of our power grids. NOAA says that it can take around 15 to 18 hours for a coronal mass ejection to arrive from the Sun to Earth. Right now, there could be as many as four on the way.
So, the forecast for the Hudson Valley tonight? Hudson VAlley Weather is calling for mostly cloudy skies over the area. Wouldn't you know it? The Weather Channel is saying we could even see some showers as the night goes on, so it's not looking so hot right now to be seeing anything.