People living in the northern tier of states – including in the New York City metropolitan region – may be able to see the Aurora Borealis (also called the Northern Lights) tonight and Friday night, February 15 and 16.
Newsweek, describing the phenomenon, reported that on Monday, “the sun belched out a slew of charged particles in a moderate solar flare. These particles are now making their way towards Earth.”
Earth’s magnetic field blocks most of those particles. Some enter the atmosphere, collect at the north and south poles, and interact with atmospheric gases – which create the haunting ribbons and streamers of vivid neon light that dance in the skies.
While the weather forecast in the New York City region for tonight, February 15, is cloudy and rainy, the prediction is for clear skies on Friday night, February 16.
Dave Bush, technical and production coordinator for the Vanderbilt’s Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium, said, “outbreaks like this are typically rare for our region. So, this is a good opportunity to bundle up, go outside, and take advantage of the winter night sky’s offerings. Also, at this time of year, we have the brightest stars of any season, in and around the constellation of Orion the Hunter.”
Bush will speak about the Aurora Borealis in the Planetarium’s live Friday evening show, Long Island Skies, at 8:00 p.m.