Could the Hudson Valley see the Northern Lights tonight?

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Residents of the Hudson Valley and other parts of the state may qualify for a light show Monday night. Space.com reports that the Northern Lights could be seen as far south as New York State because a solar storm is expected to affect Earth. Now the big question, as always, is whether the weather will hold up in the region for optimal viewing conditions?

The aurora (or aurora borealis) are caused by giant solar winds that carry ionized particles that eventually crash into Earth’s atmosphere near the poles. This is essentially what causes the greenish ghostly lights in the sky, although they are not often seen at such southern latitudes. But while not a daily occurrence, the Northern Lights have been seen as far south as the Hudson Valley and the Catskills in the past. Sometimes these “space weather” forecasts can make for quite a spectacle in the night sky above us. And sometimes not. It’s a bit like predicting the weather here on Earth.

Tonight’s geomagnetic storm is rated G2, on a scale of 1 to 5. So in this case, we expect a fairly weak storm that does not pose a major threat to Earth or any of our power grids. . NOAA says it can take around 15 to 18 hours for a coronal mass ejection to arrive from the Sun to Earth. Right now there could be as many as four on the way.

So, the forecast for the Hudson Valley tonight? Hudson VAlley Weather reports mostly cloudy skies over the area. Would you not know? The Weather Channel says we might even see showers overnight so it’s not that hot right now to see anything.

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