Eastern Iowa has the chance to see Northern Lights Wednesday night

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 2:43 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - People in eastern Iowa may get a chance to see the Northern Lights Wednesday night.

The Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights, is a light display that is caused by the collision of electronically-charged particles. This phenomenon can normally be seen in areas like Canada, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden throughout the year. A solar flare from the sun may cause these charged particles to push southward where areas in the Midwest could see the Northern Lights.

The Space Weather Prediction Center said that we could expect a strong, G3 geomagnetic storm to hit the earth and issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch from December 9-11, 2020. The Geomagnetic Storm Index says a storm at this magnitude could cause minor power system issues, GFS and satellite interruptions, and allows the viewing of the Northern Lights in the mid-latitudes.

Our weather across eastern Iowa looks great for possible viewing with mostly clear skies. If you want to try to look for the Northern Lights, you’ll want to get away from lights (especially city lights), in the darkest spot possible, and look north near the horizon. The farther north you are in eastern Iowa, the higher chance that you may be able to see them. It’s not guaranteed that all of eastern Iowa will be able to see it, but the southern viewing line sits in the middle of the state.

Normally, the best time to view the Northern Lights is within an hour of midnight but can vary. The Space Weather Prediction Center says the best time to view would be after 9 p.m. Wednesday night CST through the early morning hours on Thursday.

We would love to see your photos if you are able to get a chance to see it, you can submit them here.

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