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Will the Northern Lights be visible from Michigan Thursday night?

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Posted at 11:47 AM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 12:20:29-05

(WXYZ) — Thursday night will be the best chance to see the Northern Lights around metro Detroit, but it isn't a guarantee it will be visible.

A powerful CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) from the sun on Dec. 7 has increased Aurora activity at the poles. The plasma and magnetic field expelled from the sun charges tiny particles in the Earth's atmosphere near the poles, which lights up the sky with beautiful colors at night.

The actual peak of this geomagnetic storm is around 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET Thursday. Which, obviously, is during the daytime for us, so we won't see anything.

Even though it will be slightly weaker tonight, Michigan is still in a good spot to see the Auroras before the geomagnetic storm dissipates completely on Friday.

The latest forecast from NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center is while the geomagnetic storm watch stays in the effect, the confidence in the strength of it has decreased; meaning the confidence of a brighter, and farther south Aurora event is more uncertain. However, the Northern Lights should be farther south than Wednesday night, as shown below.

It's definitely worth trying to get a glimpse tonight, even if it doesn't pan out for southern Michigan.

WHEN TO LOOK: 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. will be the best viewing.

WHERE TO LOOK: Get as far away from city lights as you can, and face north. The lights will be closer to the horizon in southern Michigan and slightly higher in the sky in northern Michigan.

WEATHER: Mid 30s. Patchy cloud cover; especially closer to Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. Most of central Michigan will have clear enough skies for good viewing. Some patchy fog may develop after 1 a.m.

**The Upper Peninsula will have cloud cover tonight; which would've otherwise been the best seats in Michigan. **