Is There Hope We Can See The Northern Lights in Grand Rapids This Week?
Seeing the Northern Lights has always been one of the things I want to cross off my bucket list. It hasn't happened yet.
However, maybe this week I'll get my chance like so many others are probably hoping to as well. Thursday is the day, but so many things have to fall into place for it to happen.
Fox 17 reported the University of Alaska Fairbanks, forecasts strong Kp values on July 13, which means it could be possible to view the Aurora Borealis in Michigan.
So, my first question is, what the heck is the Kp value? Scientists explain the Kp-index is a scale used to characterize the magnitude of geomagnetic disturbances. A geomagnetic storm starts at Kp5 after which the G-scale is also used.
Okay, I'm still a bit lost, but the folks who understand this stuff say:
"Auroral activity will be high(+). Weather permitting, highly active auroral displays will be visible overhead from Inuvik, Yellowknife, Rankin and Iqaluit to Vancouver, Helena, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Bay City, Toronto, Montpelier, and Charlottetown, and visible low on the horizon from Salem, Boise, Cheyenne, Lincoln, Indianapolis and Annapolis."
The natural phenomenon is usually caused by solar winds coming from the sun and earth's magnetic field.
Here in West Michigan, there may be some cloud cover Thursday (what a surprise) so it may be tough. But, here is the best advice from Space Weather Prediction Center!
You don't need any special equipment to see auroras, and the best time to try to see the Northern Lights is between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Pick a spot where there is little light pollution.
- Get to a higher elevation if possible.
- Check the forecast for signs of clouds or precipitation, which could block your view.
- Scan the skies — while northern is in the name, they can appear from all directions.
Good luck. Sadly, I'm probably going to miss it again as I'll be sleeping so I guess I'll just look at some pictures.