Northern Illinois May Get A Look At The Aurora Borealis Tonight
Assuming the clouds give way and give us some clear skies, we should not only get a look at the Aurora Borealis tonight (Thursday) in the Rockford area, but also Friday night, too.
The last time Northern Illinois had a chance to catch the Aurora Borealis, weather interfered, so those who have "seeing the Aurora Borealis" on their bucket lists had to leave that item unchecked. Maybe we'll get lucky this time.
This Chance To See The Aurora Borealis Came About Because Of Sunspot Activity
The National Weather Service says that at the first part of this week, a number of sunspots were releasing magnetic energy and fast-paced particles called coronal mass ejections, causing a geomagnetic storm across the northern U.S. and Canada.
The by-product of these coronal mass ejections and geomagnetic storms is that the Aurora Borealis gets pushed a bit from the polar regions toward the equator, giving those of us in "northern tier" states a chance to see it.
If The Sky Is Cloudy Tonight, There's Always Tomorrow
At least that's the opinion of the National Weather Service, which has issued a geomagnetic storm watch that runs through Friday of this week.
Some of the northern tier states and Canada have already gotten a pretty good look at something they're just not used to seeing:
By the way, even if we miss the Aurora Borealis entirely, we've got more activity on the way, according to Patch.com:
If this storm is a bust or you miss the auroras, your chances of seeing the northern lights are greater than ever right now. The reason: Solar Cycle 25. It's an 11-year cycle in which the sun's magnetic fields flip polarity, causing solar storms 93 million miles from Earth to occur with much more frequency over the next decade or so.