Night skywatchers have reason to be excited tonight as a powerful solar wind might bring the Northern Lights near Toronto. You won't be able to see them from the city thanks to light pollution and the relative power of the storm, but the odds are decent for a display in cottage country.
Predicting the Aurora Borealis is notoriously difficult in the sub-Auroral zone (basically everything south of James Bay), but there was significant geomagnetic activity last night and more is forecast for tonight. The Weather Network seems particularly confident a light show is in store, but it's always good to keep your expectations in check unless you're way far north.
If you want to get in on the display, you'll have to get up to at least the Gravenhurst area but ideally further. The reason for this is twofold. One, the further north you go, the better the chances of increased geomagnetic activity, and two, there will be cloud cover tonight and early tomorrow morning to the south, which kills all view opportunities outright.
There are a few things you can do to 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
Best of luck. This looks like a decent storm. It's the type of monster event that would make me suggest breaking all plans to head up north, but those who live or travel a couple hundred of kilometres north of Toronto might be rewarded with a stunning display tonight.
Photo by Soumya Banerjee on Flickr.
by Derek Flack via blogTO