Chicago, Illinois – Residents in the Chicago area might be in for a rare treat this weekend as the Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis, could be visible due to a G2 “moderate” level geomagnetic storm.
The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), a branch of NOAA, has issued an alert following Thursday’s significant solar flare, the strongest in over six years. This solar event has the potential to create vivid auroras that might be seen as far south as Illinois. Solar flares, intense bursts of radiation from the sun, can disrupt Earth’s magnetic field, leading to the display of Northern Lights.
The flare in question, classified as an X2.8, is part of the increasing activity in Solar Cycle 25, which is expected to peak in 2024. The SWPC anticipates the geomagnetic effects of this flare to be particularly visible this weekend. Chicagoans are advised to look northward during the evening hours, especially in areas away from city lights, for a possible glimpse of this natural light show usually reserved for higher latitudes.