Stargazing and Northern Lights


For those that want to possibly see the brilliance of the Northern Lights, the best time will be late Thursday evening into Friday morning. The ‘Space Weather Prediction Center’ (SWPC) has issued a G1 storm watch scheduled for late Thursday evening into Friday morning in the midwest region.

A G1 (Minor) Geomagnetic Storm WATCH is in effect for the  October 24-25, 2019 UTC-days. A recurrent, positive polarity coronal hole (CH) high-speed stream (HSS), designated as CH75+, is anticipated to rotate into an Earth-connected position on October 24th. A co-rotating interaction region (CIR) is expected to precede the CH HSS and is forecast to arrive mid to late UTC-day on Thursday, October 24th. Effects from CIR arrival, coupled with CH HSS onset, are likely to cause geomagnetic responses to G1 storm levels. Elevated solar wind speed due to the CH HSS is forecast to continue into Friday, October 25th, and likely result in an additional early period of G1 storm levels.

 The above conditions make it possible for various patterns of the Northern Lights to be seen throughout southern Wisconsin and possibly northern Illinois. A G1 alert is the lowest level of their alert system, so there’s enough activity to be noteworthy, but it’s still a relatively minor geomagnetic event. 

The SWPC’s 3-Day Forecast projects the G1 alert will begin at 1:00 PM CST the evening of October 24th and run until 7:00 AM on the morning of October 25th. Projected limited viewing between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM.  For best viewing the northern lights are only visible when it’s dark outside, so the early hours of the alert aren’t much use for aurora hunters. 

Earlier this week the ‘Orionid meteor shower’ made for great stargazing. For the best spot to observe, please visit one of the DeKalb Park District’s locations that would be void of man-made lights.

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