April 20, 2015 - 4:32 PM
NORTHERN LIGHTS AND METEOR SHOWER COULD LIGHT UP THE NIGHT
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - If you missed the northern lights last week and if the moon was too bright and the clouds too thick to catch the Quadrantid meteor shower in January, you could get a chance at viewing both this week.
The Space Weather Prediction Centre has issued an aurora storm watch for Monday and Tuesday night. While it is unknown exactly when, or if, the northern lights will dance until up to 30 minutes beforehand the centre does say a coronal mass ejection from the sun is heading towards Earth and could produce a minor magnetic storm.
If meteors are more your thing the Lyrids Meteor Shower is expected to take centre stage Wednesday night, if the clouds stay away. The shower runs from April 16 to 25 but peaks with about 20 meteors per hour overnight April 22 to 23.
The Lyrids shower can produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds and the Okanagan Centre branch of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada notes the moon should not interfere with viewing the meteors this year. The best opportunity to view them will be from 11 p.m. to dawn.
Environment Canada is calling for clear skies throughout the region Monday night but increasing cloudiness Tuesday night to Wednesday morning. Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be cloudy. Overnight temperatures will vary from 4 to 9 Celcius.
If you are heading out to view the show, or take pictures, the best view is often well away from city lights where you can sit back and take in a lot of the dark sky all at once. Bring a blanket or lawn chair to stretch out in and once your eyes adjust to the dark you should start to see more stars and hopefully the northern lights and meteors.
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— See more of Chad Graham's photos on his Flickr page.
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