The Aurora Borealis Could Return to the Northern California Sky this Week

Missed the recent dazzling display of the aurora borealis? Don’t worry, Northern California might be in for another spectacular show this week. Starting June 3, there is potential for the Northern Lights to make another appearance.

The sunspot AR3697, previously known as AR3664, has rotated back to face Earth. This sunspot was responsible for the strongest geomagnetic storm since 2003, which occurred last month. According to NASA, AR3697 unleashed an X-class solar flare rated at X1.4 on May 29, indicating it is still highly active.

The Northern Lights are caused by the interaction of solar wind with Earth’s magnetosphere, which acts as a shield against charged particles from the sun. These charged particles, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), are often shot into space following a solar flare. When these particles collide with Earth’s magnetic field, they create the beautiful light displays we know as auroras.

An active sunspot facing Earth opens a window of opportunity for auroras. The sun rotates every 27 days, and June 6 marks exactly one sun cycle since the impressive display on May 10. Coincidentally, June 6 is also the date of the new moon, ensuring dark skies perfect for viewing the Northern Lights.

Weather permitting, Northern Californians might witness this breathtaking celestial phenomenon a few days either side of June 6. The best way to see them is to get far away from city lights, and expect to see them in the middle of the night. Also, the further north you go, the better.

We will continue to report on the development of the Northern Lights this week, so stay tuned.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button