The Northern Lights may be visible in Mid-Michigan this week

May 14, 2019

Michigan residents may be able to see the northern lights over the next couple of days. Forecasters said the lights may be heading south because of storms coming from space.

 


The Northern Lights typically can be seen in areas close to the North Pole, and don’t normally reach as far south as Mid-Michigan.

 

Robert Stenburgh is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Forecast Office. He said Mid-Michigan residents may be able to see the northern lights because of geomagnetic storms.

 

“Geomagnetic storms occur when Earth’s magnetic field is disturbed by events in the solar wind. So the sun is constantly producing solar wind streams that buffets our magnetic field. Different features in the solar winds can cause disturbances.”

 

Stenburgh said Earth will be hit by a few storms over the next couple of days. He said the intensity of those storms will determine how far south the lights will be visible.

 

“The intensity of the geomagnetic storm is related to how far south the northern lights will move and how active they are. That can range anywhere for some storms in the Northern part of Michigan to other historical storms pushing them all the way to Florida and Cuba. ”

 

Stenburgh said Earth will be hit by minor and  moderate geomagnetic storms which may make the Northern Lights visible in areas as south as Mid-Michigan. He said you should try to look for the northern lights Wednesday and Thursday, early in the morning while it is still dark.