The Canton Corner

A Spectacular Light Show: Aurora Borealis Coming to Michigan!

A Spectacular Light Show: Aurora Borealis Coming to Michigan!

by | Jul 13, 2023

Spectacular shows of Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, will be seen as far south as Michigan this week, with dazzling colors being formed due to a large active region on the sun sending out charged particles on solar winds. According to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, Michiganders in the Upper Peninsula and parts of lower peninsula are likely to experience a spectacular display of lights come Thursday, July 13.

Michigan is making waves in the northern regions of the state this weekend, as colorful aurora borealis displays will be visible to Michiganders in the Upper Peninsula. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute even predicts that on Thursday, July 13th, these beautiful lights will extend farther south into the northern portions of the lower peninsula. This spectacle has been made possible by a large active region on the sun which spewed a huge cloud of charged solar particles into space, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). Carried by the solar wind, these plasma particles are anticipated to reach Earth’s magnetic field on Friday.

Get the Latest News from Across Michigan with Patch

Discover the latest news from Across Michigan with free, real-time updates from Patch! Keep up to date with the most recent events and happenings happening in the region. Plus, this weekend could bring a special treat – the auroras might be visible in certain northern states, including central Minnesota. Keep an eye on the Northern Lights forecast for more information.

Skygazers Could See the Northern Lights!

Stay informed about all the exciting things happening in Michigan with Patch’s free, real-time updates. Plus, skygazers could have the opportunity to witness the northern lights next week! According to the Geophysical Institute, the Kp index — the measure of auroral strength — is projected to reach 6 on a 9-point scale come Thursday. Generally, the chances of seeing the northern flights are highest when the Kp index hits 5 or higher. In addition to Michigan, other states that may also be able to experience the event include Alaska, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts and Indiana. The Space Weather Prediction Center releases forecasts every 30 minutes, so stay tuned for updates as July 13 nears!

The Space Weather Prediction Center has determined that the best times to witness the stunning spectacle of auroras are between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., when away from city lights. This period is particularly propitious with a waning crescent moon at less than 50 percent illumination enhancing the viewing opportunities on Thursday. Solar storms, expected to reach a peak of ‘solar maximum’ around 2025, are driving this heightened activity and providing more frequent displays of the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.

The stunning northern lights have been seen in an unprecedented number of states, including as far south as Florida, providing a spectacular natural light show for many who don’t often get to witness it. Until 2025, the auroral oval will continue to expand, making sightings of the northern lights even more likely at lower altitudes. July is a particularly great time to look out for meteor showers and other celestial displays.

From Alaska to Indiana, Thursday the 13th of July will be a night worth remembering for our northern skywatchers. With no obstructions from city lights and brilliant cosmic rays from a coronal mass ejection stemming from the active sun, a kaleidoscope of rainbow-colored lights will illuminate the night sky, providing the perfect backdrop for several US states that sit on the borders of this magnificent Aurora Borealis. Although the Kp index has to reach 6 or higher for optimum viewing territories, it’s expected to reach 5 by then with decent visibility in Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, and beyond. So don’t miss out on this mesmerizing scene as the Northern Lights will only be appearing for one night!

Check Out the Aurora Forecast

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