Northern Lights may be out tonight!


This photo of the Northern Lights over Fishtown was taken by Ken Scott in October of 2011. Today on Absolute Michigan we posted a feature about a solar flare that may bring northern lights to Leelanau’s skies tonight (and potentially over the next few days):

NASA’s Space Weather site is the place to go for Aurora Borealis forecasting as they help make sense of the data the space agency receives about solar flares and their impact on earth’s atmosphere. Yesterday they gave Northern Lights watchers a lot of hope with this news:

This morning, Jan. 23rd around 0359 UT, big sunspot 1402 erupted, producing a long-duration M9-class solar flare. The explosion’s M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being an X-flare, the most powerful kind. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare’s extreme ultraviolet flash (shown right or in short movie right here)

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft detected a CME rapidly emerging from the blast site: movie. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say the leading edge of the CME will reach Earth on Jan. 24 at 14:18UT (+/- 7 hours).

That means it’s hitting the Earth 11 AM – 6 PM EST, but this level of intensity makes the Northern Lights a real possibility for the next couple of days so definitely LOOK UP tonight and tomorrow if there’s any break in the clouds! If the northern lights hit, our Northern Lights Log will light up with reports. You can also learn a lot more about the Northern Lights at Michigan in Pictures and also at aurora borealis on!