Northern lights set the sky aglow amid powerful geomagnetic storm

admin May 12, 2024

Northern lights set the sky aglow amid powerful geomagnetic storm

Millions of Americans were able to see the magical glow of the northern lights on Friday night when a powerful geomagnetic storm reached Earth. 

The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, were predicted to be visible as far south as Alabama and Northern California. People reported seeing the lights as far south as Florida and Oklahoma. 

Some areas, like New York City, were impacted by cloud cover and missed out on the spectacular show, but the phenomenon is expected to last through the weekend and possibly into next week. Experts said the aurora borealis will likely be visible in some parts of the U.S. Saturday night, with the best chance to see the northern lights between 10 p.m. Saturday and 2 a.m. Sunday.     

“The aurora is when we get energized particles that have left the sun in more quantities than usual, and they interact with Earth’s magnetic barrier,” Shawn Dahl, senior space weather forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained to CBS News.

The geomagnetic storm reached Earth Friday evening as an “extreme” G5, according to the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. Geomagnetic storms are ranked from G1 to G5.