On March 12, the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a space-storm watch, which sounds alarming, but could actually have beautiful results.
Such a storm ususally coincides with occurances of the aurora borealis (i.e. the northern lights).
Although the geomagnetic storm was predicted to hit Earth on March 14 and 15, this weekend (March 17 and 18) will likely be the time to look up.
As it turns out, not all solar winds travel at the same speed. And when the faster winds catch up with slower winds, they “pile up”.
The result: a ribbon of particles with the potential for amazing natural nighttime beauty.
When coupled with the dark skies of Saturday’s New Moon, and the approach of the Spring Equinox, the timing is ripe for the northern lights to make an appearance.
Get prepared to watch the Northern Lights
- Monitor the geomagnetic forecast using Canada’s Space Weather Agency
- Choose a location with little to no light pollution with the Dark Site Finder.
- Use the Clear Sky Chart to ensure there’s no cloud cover where/when you plan to view
- Look towards the Northern Horizon.
- Dress warmly and be safe.
Light pollution will spoil any view of the Northern Lights. The best option is to head north until you can see a healthy number of stars above your head.
Also, even if you are in a good position to see the aurora, it may still be quite faint, requiring a camera that can capture long exposures and some post-processing to really pick out the vibrant colours.
If you do capture an amazing photo, make sure to hashtag it with #victoriabuzz, or email us at [email protected]