Look Up! The Northern Lights May Be Visible From Northern California Tonight.

Photo by Jonatan Pie

After a strong solar eruption heaved towards Earth at speeds of 1.88 million mph on Monday night, scientists believe that the Northern Lights may be visible from Northern California tonight.

The aurora is usually seen only from the Arctic and Antarctic regions, but when a rare case of strong solar wind occurs, the view of the bright natural phenomenon becomes more likely in lower regions. Tonight, that may occur.

The Northern Lights occur when electrically charged particles flow outward from the sun and generate solar wind. If the wind is stronger due to due to eruptions or explosions on the sun’s surface, the bright neon lighting can produce a beautiful scene from anyone viewing on Earth.

Due to the exceptional solar winds, along with clear skies, the Northern Lights may be visible from the very northern end of Northern California tonight, especially close to the Oregon border.

“It is quite rare for auroras to become visible at our latitude, and it doesn’t look like we stand to see any from this event here in the Bay Area,” said Ben Burress, an astronomer at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, to the SFGate. “The best I can say is if you live on the northern end of the state, within 50 or 100 miles of the California-Oregon border, you have a  shot at it.”

The lights can be visible anytime between Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. If the sky is particularly dark and there are no clouds in the sky, you may see a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence in NorCal.

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