If the skies remain clear, there’s a chance Whatcom County residents might see the Northern Lights this week.
The NASA Space Weather Prediction Center has issued an alert for a geomagnetic storm visible across Canada and the northern parts of Washington state for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are created when a large disruption like a solar flare shoots from the sun’s surface into space. Besides messing with radio transmissions and satellite communications, such a release of solar radiation illuminates electrons in the Earth’s atmosphere to create a cosmic light show around the planet’s magnetic poles.
The phenomena lit up Whatcom County late last month, though there are no indications the effects of this solar storm will be as strong.
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NASA currently predicts the Pacific Northwest will be in a minor to moderate zone for viewing. The best time to view the lights will be from 1 and 5 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and the best viewing will be in rural areas away from city lights.
For hourly updates, check aurora-service.org, one of several sites that track the phenomena.