(KDVR) – Thanks to a significant solar flare, the spectacular natural phenomenon known as the northern lights could be visible from a number of states, including parts of New York, this weekend.
A geomagnetic storm watch is in effect for Saturday and Sunday after a major X1 solar flare happened Oct. 28, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.
According to NASA, solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
The solar flare resulted in a coronal mass ejection, which is now traveling toward Earth.
It’s expected to interact with the outer atmosphere and, if the storm is as strong as projected, could drive the aurora borealis further away from where it might usually be visible.
This means a rare event is possible. People in states across the upper Midwest, in the Northeast and as far west as the state of Washington could see the northern lights. Depending on how things play out, states as far south as Pennsylvania and Oregon could also get a glimpse of the otherworldly glow.
The further north you travel, the better the odds you have of seeing the northern lights. If you think you might have a shot at seeing the aurora borealis, make sure the weather forecast is clear and get away from the city lights for the best view.