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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Northern Lights could light up Halloween weekend skies across Canada


Just in time for Halloween, a potentially colourful light show in the skies.

Earlier in the week, a solar flare erupted on Thursday morning, causing a high-frequency radio blackout across parts of South America.

A solar flare is a powerful burst of radiation, and, when it hits Earth’s atmosphere, it has the potential to not only affect technology but also create magnificent geomagnetic storms — a.k.a. the Northern Lights.

Read more:
Huge solar flare erupts from sun, may disrupt satellites, communication

In fact, on Friday afternoon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a warning that a geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for Oct. 30-31.

The NOAA said the watch stems from Thursday’s significant solar flare and coronal mass ejection (CME).

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“Analysis indicated the CME departed the Sun at a speed of 973 km/s and is forecast to arrive at Earth on 30 October, with effects likely continuing into 31 October,” said the U.S.-based NOAA, noting its DSCOVR satellite will be among the first spacecraft to detect the real-time solar wind changes, allowing forecasters to issue appropriate warnings.

“Impacts to our technology from a G3 storm are generally nominal. However, a G3 storm has the potential to drive the aurora further away from its normal polar residence and if other factors come together, the aurora might be seen over the far Northeast, to the upper Midwest, and over the state of Washington.”

In Canada, Space Weather Canada is calling for stormy intervals for its polar, auroral and sub-auroral regions.

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Further, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, auroral activity will be high from Inuvik and Yellowknife all the way to Portland, the American plains and New York.

A graphic from the University of Alaska Fairbanks showing where Saturday night’s Northern Lights could be seen.


A graphic from the University of Alaska Fairbanks showing where Saturday night’s Northern Lights could be seen.


University of Alaska Fairbanks

An Okanagan couple — Jack and Alice Newton, who host a popular astronomy bed and breakfast — say it’s possible the light show could be viewed as early as Saturday during the early evening.

However, they note that viewing will depend on location and weather, plus how much remaining energy there is from the CME.

The website Spaceweather.com also has more information about this weekend’s Northern Lights, including a real-time image gallery.


Click to play video: 'Meet the Aurora Chasers in Alberta'







Meet the Aurora Chasers in Alberta


Meet the Aurora Chasers in Alberta




© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





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