September 12, 2014 - 11:04 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - We’re getting a second chance at the northern lights tonight thanks to a second blow from the sun, and this one could be even stronger thanks to the storms combining as they hit the Earth.
The National Space Weather Prediction Center says a ‘moderate’ storm hit Earth late Thursday night (in the Pacific time zone) before downgrading to a ‘minor’ storm in to the early morning hours. A second storm will hit Friday and the combined influence of both ‘coronal mass ejections’ is leading forecasters to believe the storm will be a strong one.
The Canadian Space Weather division notes our region can expect to see unsettled skies with a major storm watch over the next 24 hours.
The auroras are expected to light up the sky as far south as the United States and luckily for us, Mother Nature is expected to cooperate in the Southern Interior with clear skies forecast for tonight.
Temperatures will drop to just below seasonal normals tonight to around 5-7 Celsius, so if you’re heading out make sure to dress warm, especially if you’re heading to higher elevations where it will be even cooler. Also take a look at our photo tips to help you get the most out of shooting the dancing lights.
The best place to view the nature's show is away from light pollution, so typically far enough outside of cities or towns for it to be dark. Of course a nearly full moon may prevent it from being too dark this week.
Northern lights occur when electrically charged particles discharged from the sun come in contact with the gaseous particles in Earth's atmosphere. Collisions with oxygen create yellowish-green, while contact with nitrogen creates hues of blue, purple and red.
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This Accuweather map shows where the northern lights should be visible Friday night.
Image Credit: Accuweather
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014