Northwest could see northern lights, weather permitting

Northwest could see northern lights, weather permitting

Credit: AP

Northwest could see northern lights, weather permitting

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

kgw.com

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 6 at 5:14 PM

SEATTLE – Increased solar activity could bring the northern lights to the Northwest and even as far south as northern Oregon this weekend, but the weather in some areas will make the chances of seeing it pretty slim.

Three solar flares erupted on the sun starting Tuesday.

The weather will be more favorable Saturday night than it was Friday, but the strength of the geomagnetic field won’t be as high, according to KING 5’s Lisa Van Cise.

It’s suggested observers look north around midnight and get away from city lights.

Federal forecasters say the effects from a series of eruptions on the sun are arriving on Earth and could affect some communications for a day or so.

Operators of electrical grids are working to avoid outages, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says some satellite communications and Global Positioning Systems could face problems.

The strongest electromagnetic shocks were felt Friday by the ACE spacecraft, a satellite that measures radiation bursts a few minutes before they strike Earth.

A 1989 solar flare knocked out the electrical systems in Quebec, but the current solar storm is not expected to be that powerful.

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