Northern lights may be visible in Michigan tonight through Satur - WNEM TV 5

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Northern lights may be visible in Michigan tonight through Saturday

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

The Aurora Borealis may be visible in Michigan tonight.

Did you have a chance to escape last night and catch at glimpse of the northern lights? If not you may still be in luck.

Due to a strong geomagnetic storm, the northern lights were visible in Michigan last night. A second stronger geomagnetic storm is predicted to hit earth Sept 8. Giving us two more nights of potential northern lights viewing. 

On September 4, there was a large solar flare from a sunspot that sent a CME, or coronal mass ejection, towards earth caused a large geomagnetic storm. Now another stronger solar flare has sent a second CME our direction expected to arrive Friday September 8. 

This storm is the reason we will be able to see the northern lights again tonight through Saturday night.  NOAA has issued a strong geomagnetic storm watch for Sept. 7-9.

This storm is not something to be scared of. For us here in Michigan it simply means that we will have another good shot at seeing the northern lights as far south as the Michigan border again. This was another stronger storm so the extent of viewing should be the same.   

Usually for Michiganders to see the Aurora Borealis we need have a KP greater than 5. Tonight we will see a KP 7.

What on earth is a KP number?

The KP number is the geomagnetic activity level. The higher the number the stronger the northern lights will be and the farther south they will be visible.  Tonight, tomorrow night, ans Saturday night with a KP of 7 or greater, the northern lights could be visible as far south as Chicago.

The yellow line on the map below shows a value of KP 7 and how far south the northern light should be visible the next three nights. This image is courtesy of NOAA. 

What about the weather?

Viewing of the Aurora will be difficult tonight clouds and scattered showers are expected to last overnight so you may have trouble finding a clear spot. If you do manage to dodge the rain and clouds you'll still have to compete with the bright full moon.  Like last night the moon will be full and very bright and that light could block out some of the aurora.

The weather and chance at seeing the aurora improves this weekend. We will see almost completely clear skies Friday night and Saturday night. The moon will also be a little less bright.  It will be cold with temps in the 30s and 40s though so if you do go dress warmly! 

Your best bet to see the northern lights will be Friday and Saturday. Be sure to go away from big cities and light pollution. Go somewhere dark with few lights and that will be your best chance at seeing the Aurora Borealis.

Of course, if you do snap a pic or video be sure to send it our way! 

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