Clouds Will Probably Ruin Northern Lights This Week for South Dakota
Thanks to a pair of coronal mass ejections (CME) from the sun this week, the Northern Lights should be dancing in the skies over the midwest after dark, but the clouds may block the sight. CME's, better known as solar flares, are erupting on the sun's surface. Not uncommon, but the last few days has seen increased activity form our nearest star.
According to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, the earth is in the direct path of these flares. When entering the earth's atmosphere, the charged particles create the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. It's an awe-inspiring sight but the weather conditions need to be perfect.
And that's the bad news for sky watchers Wednesday night. Sioux Falls has seen rain, wind, and an inch of snow in the last 24 hours and it doesn't look like it's going to clear for a while.
But there is a little hope: due to very active sun activity, the lights may appear all week. The skies over South Dakota are forecasted to clear on Thursday giving us - at least a chance - to catch later in the week.
While solar activity can disrupt GPS and communication satellites, experts say this risk is very low.
As you can see by this AccuWeather map, South Dakota is well within range for viewing the northern lights. But with the cloud cover, the quality varies from poor to good.
If we do indeed get a clear skies toward the end of the week, the best chance for viewing is to get away from the city and other light pollution.
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