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Could we see the northern lights again sometime soon?

todayMay 13, 2024 2

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The view of the northern lights is usually reserved for people in Canada or Alaska, but this weekend much more of the planet saw the dancing colors, including as far south as the Caribbean.

But what caused the aurora borealis to take over the more southern skies? Sunspots.

“When they erupt, they send these big, charged clouds of particles towards, well, basically anywhere in the solar system,” Meteorologist Brian Karstens said. “And sometimes those clouds are directed at planet Earth.”

Karstens says the northern lights became visible for more people this time because it was a G5 storm.

“Basically looking at the total power of this solar storm was really pretty significant so basically that knocks down the latitude or the level on the Earther where you can see these things,” Karstens said.

And all of this activity in the skies is because we’re nearing the peak of Solar Cycle 25.

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“The sun, though, goes in a cycle that’s about 11 years or so, so we’re going to get through this wave and then it’s going to be a while before it’s this active again,” Karstens said.

Karstens says the last time we saw a level G5 solar storm like this hit the planet was in 2003.

“It’s been a while, so, if we catch another one of these here in the next few weeks, my high recommendation is you take the time to go look for these auroras because once this starts to dwindle, it’s going to be a long time — 11 years, probably,” Karstens said.

Yup, you heard him right, there could soon be another chance to see these views if you missed them this weekend.

“The sun is still very active. There’s a lot of sunspot activity going on,” Karstens said. “So you still have opportunities, it’s just a question of where the next ones are going to erupt and how that’s going to impact us here on Earth but stay tuned.”

To stay up-to-date on the aurora forecast, click here.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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