The Northern Lights illuminate the sky amid a powerful geomagnetic storm

Millions of Americans were able to witness the magical glow of the Northern Lights on Friday night A powerful geomagnetic storm reached the earth.

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, Predicted to know As far south as Alabama and northern California. People reported seeing the lights as far south as Florida and Oklahoma.

Some areas, such as New York City, were hit by cloud cover and missed the spectacular, but the event is expected to last through the weekend and into next week. The Aurora Borealis will be visible in parts of the US on Saturday night, with the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights between 10pm on Saturday and 2am on Sunday, experts said.

“The aurora is when we get more energetic particles leaving the Sun than usual, and they interact with the Earth’s magnetic field,” Shawn Dahl, senior space weather forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained to CBS News.

A geomagnetic storm reached Earth on Friday evening “Extreme” G5, according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. are geomagnetic storms ranked G1 to G5.

“It’s so big, we think it’s so intense, we’ve got to G5, which is the highest in terms of strength,” said Dr. Noor Rawafi, an astrophysicist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

This is the first G5 geomagnetic storm to hit Earth since October 2003. A G5 is so large that it disrupts the satellites we rely on for communications and GPS. Elon Musk’s Starlink satellites report “substandard service”.

Dahl explains that a G5 storm can disrupt the GPS we use in our phones.

“This is possible because most of our phones are single-frequency GPS systems,” Dahl said.

The Aurora Borealis is capable of affecting power grids and causing blackouts. In 2003, according to NOAA, a G5 storm caused some power outages in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa. However, this year, utility companies took precautions.

“At this time, it seems that some action has been taken and we have avoided it so far,” said Rawafi.

Photos of the Northern Lights

Photographers and videographers across the country captured images showing the northern lights streaking the sky in shades of blue, green and purple.

The Northern Lights illuminate the night sky in Middletown, California on May 11, 2024.

Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

The Northern Lights can be photographed from the air, with photos of the event from airplane windows circulating on social media.

Photographs of the Northern Lights taken as a plane lands at Chicago’s Midway Airport.

Linda White

Even in locations where the Northern Lights can only be seen with the naked eye, the photographs captured stunning detail.

The Northern Lights illuminate the sky in Rochester, New York.

Logman Vural Elibol/Anatolu via Getty Images

Northern lights forecast for the rest of the weekend

If you missed the Northern Lights on Friday night, there are still a few chances to catch the event again. The geomagnetic storm is expected to last through the weekend.

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center released a forecast map for Saturday night, suggesting the lights will be visible in Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and more.

A map from the Space Weather Forecast Center shows the aurora forecast for the United States on May 11, 2024.

Space Weather Prediction Center

Although the lights will be low, don’t despair if your part of the map isn’t illuminated. According to the National Weather Service, the Northern Lights can be observed from 620 miles away. Remember that the camera can help you pick up details that the naked eye might miss.

What’s the best way to see the Northern Lights?

The National Weather Service’s St. Louis office said people looking to see the northern lights should stay away from light pollution and cloud cover.

“Step out of the city lights into a dark, rural environment and look north,” the office said said on social media Friday morning.

Northern lights around the world

America wasn’t the only place to see incredible light displays on Friday. In the United Kingdom, the phenomenon has been observed as far south as London and southern England.

The Aurora Borealis lights up the horizon at Crosby Beach in Liverpool, England.

Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images

In some parts of Germany, the whole sky sometimes glows pink.

Northern lights in the sky over Bavaria, Germany.

Matthias Falk/Image Alliance via Getty Images

Other incredible images lit up the sky over Austria in blue, green and pink, with stunning photos capturing them high above the country’s mountains.

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis light up the night sky in Austria.

JFK/APA/AFP via Getty Images

Michael George contributed to this report.

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