Will the Northern Lights Be Visible New Year's Eve? | NBC Chicago

Will the Northern Lights Be Visible New Year's Eve?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has extended a G3 geomagnetic storming watch through New Year’s Eve

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    The Chicago area is expected to see below-freezing temperatures for New Year's Eve. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015)

    Chicago may have a massive fireworks display as part of the New Year’s Eve celebration Chi-Town Rising, but Mother Nature might have a colorful holiday light display of her own Thursday.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has extended a G3 geomagnetic storming watch through New Year’s Eve, warning that a coronal mass ejection (CME), or roughly a billion tons of plasma from the sun and its magnetic field, could arrive at Earth.

    The storming watch indicates that the Northern Lights could be on display anywhere from Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon. According to Aurora Notify, if the auroras arrive as predicted, many northern states in the U.S., including Illinois, could see the lights.

    While the chance for seeing the the Aurora borealis is slim, the forecast for the Chicago area appears to be cloudy overnight Thursday and areas near city lights would most likely be unable to see the event, giving stargazers little hope.

    It’s not clear when the CME might arrive at Earth, but forecasters expect it will hit in the next several hours.

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