Incoming solar storm means northern lights possible Saturday night

Keep an eye on the northern sky Saturday night.

A solar storm is throwing energy at the earth this weekend. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a geomagnetic storm guard.

Geomagnetic storm wall

Geomagnetic storm wall.

NOAA Space Weather Center


published: Friday, October 29, 2021 17:43 UTC

A G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm Watch is in effect October 30 – 31, 2021 after a significant solar eruption and Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the sun that occurred around 1 p.m. 11:35 EDT on October 28th. Analysis showed that CME left the Sun at a speed of 973 km / s and is expected to arrive on Earth on October 30, with effects likely to continue into October 31.

As the CME approaches Earth, NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite will be among the first spacecraft to detect changes in solar wind in real time, and SWPC forecasters will issue appropriate warnings.

The impacts of our technology from a G3 storm are generally nominal. However, a G3 storm has the potential to drive the Northern Lights further away from its normal polar residence, and if other factors come together, the Northern Lights can be seen over the Far Northeast, the Upper Midwest, and over the state of Washington.

For more information on space weather, geomagnetic storms, northern lights and viewing tips and CMEs – click on the terms. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center is the official source for space forecasts, clocks, alerts and warnings. Visit for updates. Learn about Solar Cycle 25.

NOAA expects the wave to arrive Saturday night. It could trigger waves of northern lights across the Upper Midwest Saturday night.

The Twin Cities NWS office is chiming in on the best areas for viewing Saturday night. An arc of clouds with an approaching cold front could keep large parts of northern and central Minnesota cloudy Saturday night.

NOAA’s GFS model low cloud output tracks the expected cloud wedge across Minnesota between 6 p.m. 19:00 Saturday and at 7.00 Sunday.

NOAA GFS low cloud output

NOAA GFS low cloud output between kl. 19:00 Saturday and at 7.00 Sunday.

NOAA via tropical treats

The best views of southern Minnesota can occur early Saturday night before the clouds arrive, and early Sunday morning before sunrise after the clouds pass through western Minnesota. As always, look low in the northern sky away from the city lights if possible.

Good luck!

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