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A Possibility Of Seeing Northern Lights This Weekend

By Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV Meteorologist
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File of Aurora Borealis from the summit of Mount Washington, NH. (Photo Credit/Mt. Washington Observatory)

File of Aurora Borealis from the summit of Mount Washington, NH. (Photo Credit/Mt. Washington Observatory)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Seeing the elusive Aurora Borealis can be as difficult as finding a pot of gold under a rainbow.

The farther north in latitude you reside, your chances for viewing the Northern Lights increase.

This weekend you will have another shot for viewing, but do not get your hopes up.

Conditions will not be optimal for viewing – thanks to cloud cover. On April 11th, a large solar flare exploded off the surface of the sun. This Medium sized (M-class) eruption formed a CME (Coronal mass ejection), which was propelled into space and directed towards Earth moving at 600 miles-per-second.

Once these energized particles interact with our atmosphere on Saturday, geomagnetic storms can occur in the ionosphere, which can illuminate the evening sky in brilliant colors of light.

With the right latitude, right sky conditions, at the right time without light pollution from the city, you just may get a glimpse of the “holy grail” of weather phenomena.

NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of polar geomagnetic storms, so high-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Sunday night will provide a better window for a possible viewing in the dark evening sky looking north.

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