The Northern Lights are going south this weekend!

A Huge solar storm is expected to hit Earth late tonight which potentially could wipe out the power networks and according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Centre may also bring the ‘Auroras Borealis Northern Lights’ as far as to Colorado, Iowa and Washington.

What causes the Aurora Borealis lights to form?

Also known as the Northern Lights form when charged particles emitted from the sun during a solar flare penetrate the Earth’s magnetic shield and collide with atoms and molecules in our atmosphere. These collisions result in countless little bursts of light, called photons, which make up the aurora.

But when will the solar storm hit Earth?

A geomagnetic storm category G1 will be in effect over the weekend after a massive tear in the Sun’s surface opened up last night.

On Wednesday NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spotted a ‘canyon-like’ hole and is now under constant observation.

Tamitha Skov, a space weather expert based in Los Angeles said:

 “If the storm is oriented properly, we could have a chance for auroras for several days after impact.

It’s like a big battery driving electricity through the Earth’s system, and when that flows through the atmosphere, the atmosphere glows like a neon light.”

The particles are the result of a ‘Coronal Mass Ejection’, an outpouring of plasma from the sun’s atmosphere.

Tamitha Skov went on to say:

“This is exciting news, considering we haven’t had a decently sized Earth-directed solar storm launch for quite some time,”  and added that geomagnetic storms were less common during the current period of the sun’s 11-year activity cycle.

NOAA forecast says the storm will peak late today, but the sunlight will make it hard to see the faint aurora. Instead, your best chance to see the lights will be Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday morning. By then the storm may have faded a little, so it might not be visible, but that’s the best chance you will have.

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