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Northern Lights possible in Michigan tonight: What to know

Northern Lights over Mackinac Bridge on May 6, 2018. (Dustin Dilworth/D3 Imagery)

Michiganders could catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights on Friday.

The Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G1-G2 geomagnetic storm watch for Sept. 27-28, which means the Aurora Borealis could dip into Michigan. 

"Geomagnetic activity is expected to rise on September 27th due to an increasingly disturbed solar wind field associated with effects of a positive polarity coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS). The solar wind environment is anticipated to become enhanced and solar wind speeds are expected to climb towards 650 km/s later on the 27th – likely causing G1 storm conditions. Geomagnetic activity is expected to escalate further in reaction to the elevated solar wind speed and likely reach G2 storm levels on Saturday, the 28th."

Best timing

The last chance is likely Friday night. The forecast has almost all of Michigan in play. But there is rain the forecast in parts of Michigan.

Northern Lights are seen in Northern Michigan much more often than Lower Michigan, although it isn't unheard-of. Weather is always a factor. Keep an eye on the latest here.

Related: Watch the Northern Lights dance above Michigan's Mackinac Bridge

What are the Northern Lights?

The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres.

They are known as 'Aurora borealis' in the north and 'Aurora Australis' in the south.. Auroral displays appear in many colors although pale green and pink are the most common. Shades of red, yellow, green, blue, and violet have been reported.

The lights appear in many forms from patches or scattered clouds of light to streamers, arcs, rippling curtains or shooting rays that light up the sky with an eerie glow.


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