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Philadelphia has Good Chance at Northern Lights Saturday night; Aurora Borealis in Philly?
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 04/12/13 11:15 pm | updated: 04/12/13 11:17 pm
 
UPDATE 3/17/15: Philadelphia has Rare Chance at St. Patrick's Northern Lights; Aurora Borealis in Philly?

There is a good chance that the Philadelphia area will receive a dazzling display in the night sky on Saturday according to AccuWeather. A solar flare that occurred at 2 a.m. Thursday could create the spectacular Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis in the skies over the Mid-Atlantic including Southeast Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

UPDATE 9/12/14: go to article

UPDATE 4/14 12:20 AM: The Philadelphia area seems to be missing out on this rare chance to see the northern lights. An unexpected cloud cover has developed over much of the area. Also much of the effects of the radiation are staying far to the north in Canada. There still is a slight chance to see them before 3 a.m., but only if the clouds break and there is a spike in radiation that sends the aurora south.

The midlevel flare had a long duration and was directed at the Earth. On the Kp index for measuring the intensity of a geomagnetic storm, this flare has been categorized at 6 to 8, which means the effects of the radiation will have a greater reach. AccuWeather.com Astronomer Hunter Outten called the flare "impressive" and that these are the best conditions for a direct effect on our planet.

The radiation from the flare can also cause disturbances to electronics such as cell phones, GPS, and radios.

Solar flares create auroras when radiation with charged particles from the sun interacts with the Earth's magnetic field and upper atmosphere. The effects are usually seen near the poles and weaken as they move toward the equator. In the north they are called aurora borealis, with the aurora australis in the southern hemisphere. During an exceptional solar storm the spectacular displays of light and color can be seen at lower latitudes.

Viewing conditions should be best in our area (Philadelphia, Northern Delaware, South Jersey) if this aurora materializes. (See Map below) Skies will be clear with temperatures in the upper 50's and the moon will be in a waxing crescent phase offering minimal light interference. They estimate that the storm will arrive at around 8 p.m. EDT Saturday and last for 7 hours. The best place to watch the northern lights will be outside of the city of Philadelphia itself and away from the Center City lights where the sky is darkest.

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 by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 04/12 11:17 pm
 
Map of Solar Flare

 

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