See the Northern Lights This Weekend?
There’s a good chance to see the aurora borealis in Iowa later this week into the weekend, peaking Sunday night/Monday morning.
However...it appears that the weather forecast isn't going to cooperate. According to the National Weather Service, our night skies in Iowa for the next week will be filled with clouds and rain/snow.
Which is unfortunate, because it appears it might be the best chance for a while to see the Aurora in Iowa. But just maybe, we'll get lucky and have a little bit of clear skies one of these nights.
According to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks:
Auroral activity will be high. Weather permitting, highly active auroral displays will be visible low on the horizon from Seattle, Des Moines, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and Halifax.
Remember to let your eyes adjust to the darkness and try to get away from city lights. Generally, it typically takes between 20 and 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust. But it can take longer.
According to the Geophysical Institute:
There is always some aurora at some place on earth. When the solar wind is calm, the aurora might only be occurring at very high latitudes and might be faint, but there is still aurora. In order for us to see the aurora, however, the sky must be dark and clear.
The best time to watch for aurora is the three or four hours around midnight, but the phenomena occurs throughout the night.
The moon will be half-full this weekend and will be setting around the midnight hour.
According to the Geophysical Institute, this looks like it will be the best chance for Iowans to have a chance to see the Northern Lights this year:
The Geophysical Institute also operates an 'All Sky Camera.'
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