The Aurora Borealis Could Be Visible in Northern California this Month

This month, Northern California residents might just catch a rare glimpse of the elusive Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights.

Space weather forecasters are buzzing with anticipation, declaring this month the most promising in twenty years for Americans to witness the celestial dance of greens, pinks, purples, and reds that usually grace the Arctic skies. The Northern Lights could potentially be visible as far south as the Bay Area, with last April’s sightings over Mount Shasta setting a hopeful precedent for Californians dreaming of the display.

The expected increase in auroral activity is tied to a couple of key astronomical and solar phenomena coinciding this March. Firstly, solar activity intensifies around the equinoxes, with the spring equinox falling on March 19 this year. Historical data points to March as the prime month for aurora sightings, likely due to the alignment of the sun and Earth’s poles during the equinoxes, which facilitates the solar wind’s journey to our planet.

Additionally, we’re approaching the “solar maximum” phase of the sun’s 11-year cycle, a period marked by increased magnetic activity and more frequent solar eruptions. Solar Cycle 25, the current cycle, is anticipated to peak in 2024, bringing with it an uptick in coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and, subsequently, auroral displays.

So, NorCal, keep your eyes on the skies for the next couple of weeks — you might just witness one of nature’s most spectacular shows right from your backyard. We will keep you updated with solar forecasts as the weeks approach. Happy hunting!

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California
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