Northern Lights Could Be Visible in Northern California Tonight

Northern California residents may have the opportunity to witness a rare celestial event tonight as the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, could make an appearance in the night sky.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center has extended its geomagnetic storm warning into Monday. Although the coronal mass ejection that triggered the warning is weakening, elevated solar wind speed could lead to further geomagnetic storms.

As the clouds clear from the NorCal sky, this could mean a rare glimpse of the auroras.

While Sunday’s storm was rated a G4, capable of producing auroras as far south as Alabama and Southern California, Monday’s storm is rated a G2. This means that auroras are more likely to be visible over Alaska and much of Canada. However, some areas of the country, including Northern California, still have the possibility of seeing the beautiful event.

Auroras occur when electrons from space interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, creating colorful lights in the atmosphere. Similar to how electrons passing through gas in a neon light produce colored light, these collisions result in a mesmerizing display in the sky.

The further north you go, the higher likelihood you have of seeing the event. You should also try to get away from any man-made light, as that could hinder your ability to see the colors. If you find yourself in an area where the lights are visible, here are some tips from NOAA for optimal viewing.

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