Northern Lights Will Light Up Montana’s Big Sky This Week
Looks like the big sky could be giving the Treasure State an extra special show this week. Keep your eyes open for the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, on July 12 and 13.
What are the Northern Lights?
The aurora borealis is a phenomenon that creates glowing, colorful lights in the sky that can be seen in certain parts of the world, especially around the magnetic poles in the northern and southern hemispheres.
What Causes Northern Lights?
The natural phenomenon is usually caused by solar winds coming from the sun and Earth's magnetic field, according to NOAA.
From NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center:
The aurora is formed from interactions between the solar wind streaming out from the sun and Earth’s protective magnetic field, or magnetosphere. The aurora is one manifestation of geomagnetic activity or geomagnetic storms. As the solar wind increases in speed and the interplanetary magnetic field embedded in the solar wind turns southward, the geomagnetic activity will increase and the aurora will become brighter, more active, and move further from the poles. Even moderate solar wind creates aurora so there is usually a weak aurora somewhere even when there isn’t a big geomagnetic storm.
When is the Best Day and Time to See the Northern Lights?
It's best to go where there is limited light interference. Scientists suggest the two hours around midnight, between 10pm and 2am.
The lights are expected on both the 12th and 13th. The best chance for a great view is on Thursday the 13th.
If you're lucky enough to catch a glimpse, take a picture and send it to us here.