Keep an eye on the night sky this weekend, no matter where you are across Vancouver Island or Canada for that matter, because there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to see the Aurora Borealis, aka the Northern Lights.
An unusually large release of plasma from the sun is expected to cause a geomagnetic storm when it begins to arrive on Sunday night, giving much of Vancouver Island a chance of seeing the aurora borealis.
Sunspot activity suggests there will be a good display July 16-17.
Also known as the northern lights, the aurora is caused by electrons colliding with the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.
The U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center has called for a moderate geomagnetic storm — which is responsible for putting on the colourful display.
There are a few things you can do to get prepared to watch the Northern Lights:
- Monitor the geomagnetic forecast using Canada’s Space Weather Agency
- Choose a location with little to no light pollution with the Dark Site Finder.
- Use the Clear Sky Chart to ensure there’s no cloud cover where/when you plan to view
Light pollution will spoil any view of the Northern Lights. The best option is to head north until you can see a healthy number of stars above your head.
Also, even if you are in a good position to see the aurora, it may still be quite faint, requiring a camera that can capture long exposures and some post-processing to really pick out the vibrant colours.
If you do capture an amazing photo, make sure to hashtag it with #victoriabuzz, or email us at [email protected]