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Northern Lights Forecast Maps Show Where Millions of Americans Could See Northern Lights This Weekend

Minnesotans could be treated to spectacular northern lights Friday night


Minnesotans could be treated to spectacular northern lights Friday night

03:53

Americans as far south as Alabama and Northern California could be treated to a spectacle of the northern Lights this weekend of a powerful geomagnetic storm heading toward Earth, officials said. If weather conditions permit, people in multiple areas of a map could look up and see the northern Lights.

The storm has prompted government forecasters to warn of potential disruptions to communications systems, the power grid and satellite operations, but it could also produce a fantastic light show in the night sky.

“The gift of space weather is the northern lights,” Rob Steenburgh, a space scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center, told reporters Friday morning.

Northern lights map tonight

A map of the center shows that auroras can be visible across much of the northern half of the United States. A red line on the map shows how far south the aurora forecast goes.

A map from the Space Weather Prediction Center shows the auroras predicted for the United States on May 10, 2024.
A map from the Space Weather Prediction Center shows the aurora forecast for the United States on May 10, 2024.

Space Weather Prediction Center


The St. Louis office of the National Weather Service said area residents should leave the city for the best possible chance of viewing the Northern Lights.

“Move away from city lights to a dark, rural environment and look north,” the office says. said on social media. “Apart from a few clouds associated with the passage of a front, most of the weather appears clear.”

The prediction center notes on its website that you don’t have to be directly under the aurora to see it. Instead, it can be observed up to 620 miles away.

auraora-nationview.png

CBS News


The San Francisco Bay Area Weather Service office was less optimistic when asked if there was a chance of putting on a nighttime show there.

“Probably not, but I will still look up when walking my dog,” the office says. said.

Northern lights map for Saturday evening

Friday evening isn’t the only opportunity to see an aurora borealis show. The storm was expected to last through the weekend and the forecast center released a forecast map for Saturday evening.

A map from the Space Weather Prediction Center shows the auroras predicted for the United States on May 11, 2024.
A map from the Space Weather Prediction Center shows the aurora forecast for the United States on May 11, 2024.

Space Weather Prediction Center


Authorities said residents in the southern United States who can’t see the auroras with the naked eye can still take dazzling photos with their phones.

“Cell phones are much better than our eyes at picking up light,” Brent Gordon of the Space Weather Prediction Center told reporters Friday. “Just walk out the back door with a newer cell phone and you’d be amazed at what you see in this photo rather than what you see with your eyes.”

The Northern Lights enliven the night sky on September 8, 2022 in Bettles, Alaska.
The Northern Lights enliven the night sky on September 8, 2022 in Bettles, Alaska.

Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images



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