Northern lights may be visible this week from Western WA –

Northern lights may be visible this week from Western WA

Good news for folks who missed seeing the northern lights earlier this week: Continued solar flares and coronal mass ejections from the sun mean there may very well be other chances to catch a glimpse on Thursday and Friday, according to NASA.

The northern lights, or aurora borealis, are caused when solar winds create disturbances in the magnetosphere.

Tuesday’s show was thanks to a July 15 filament eruption and coronal mass ejection that made a direct hit to Earth, triggering aurora borealis displays over Washington and other areas where the northern lights are rarely seen, according to NASA space weather physicist and forecaster Tamitha Skov.

A slower solar flare left the sun on July 15 as well, and that one could reach us by July 21 and 22, according to EarthSky.

“There’s a high-speed solar wind coming our way from a coronal hole,” said EarthSky. “All in all, conditions for auroras appear good!”

Here in Western Washington, the clouds may block our views Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service of Seattle, as marine air and low cloud cover is expected to roll in later both nights.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying, since we all know the weather forecast can change and that clouds do part, occasionally leaving open views of the glittering dark sky.

To see the lights, try to get to a dark, elevated site, settle in, wait and look to the north. They can be unpredictable in their timing and hard to see with the unaided eye. The best way to see them, should they appear, will be using time-lapse photography or long-exposure photos.

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