Can I See The Northern Lights In Florida?
The Aurora Borealis is expanding due to a solar storm, increasing its chances to be seen from Florida.
This week may be your best chance to see the Northern Lights shimmer in the Florida sky—albeit those chances are slim.
But you're telling me there's a chance? Yes and a legitimate one at that.
A large geomagnetic storm is going on in the North Pole, dipping into the northern states thanks to a solar flare from the sun, according to Space.com.
Now, the easiest advice to tell you is to look outside during the next week—especially tonight—because it will save you the headache at looking at complicated charts and graphs from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
It's a lovely space coincidence that there are two meteor showers set for this month, too, so head out to Anna Maria Island with a friend and look up at the stars at night.
Now for the technical part.
Another Space.com report points folks to a couple of key charts to figure out if you'll be able to watch the Northern Lights from your state.
Check out this red chart and hope that the line reaches in the "X" column: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/xray_5m.html
That establishes that a solar flare has taken place—now fast forward to 20 to 30 hours for that flare to reach the atmosphere, according to Space.com.
Now, Floridians, this is your chart of hope:http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/k-index.html
What you're looking for is a purple bar that reaches to 9—the higher the number, the further south the Northern Lights can be seen.
We'll let Space.com take it from here:
As this index increases, the southern edge of auroral visibility moves southward. A K-index of 3 indicates that any auroral activity will be confined to central and southern Canada. A K index of 5 suggests that activity might be glimpsed over the Northern Plains, upper Great Lakes and northern New England.
If you see the K index reach 7, it could be that an aurora might be seen as far south as New York, Chicago and the Central Plains States. And if the index soars to 8 or 9, then quite possibly the Northern Lights might shine all the way down into the Deep South. Such displays, however, most always occur only when a flare spikes into the "X" category. Hopefully, we'll see this type of activity in the days to come.
According to one of the graphs, Florida was oh-so-close Monday night when the graph reached 8, but it's possible that this storm can produce a flare that pings a 9.
If you get a picture of the Northern Lights in Florida, post it to the Bradenton Facebook Page.