Northern Lights unlikely in Wyoming this week; national news article was based on ‘outdated forecast,’ official says

    It is unlikely that the Northern Lights will be visible this week in Wyoming, an official at the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, said Tuesday.

    The Associated Press had reported that people in Wyoming might be able to see the aurora borealis on Thursday, but Lt. Bryan R. Brasher, a project manager at the Space Weather Prediction Center, said the article was based on “an outdated forecast and an inaccurate interpretation of the effects of the previously forecasted geomagnetic storm.”

    “(The) forecast was based on a 27-day outlook that has since been updated,” Brasher said Tuesday. “But even then, the forecast was for a Kp=6 or a Moderate G2 Geomagnetic storm, which would not have caused the aurora to be visible as far south as Maryland.”


    The current forecast for the Northern Lights shows “slightly elevated geomagnetic activity,” Brasher said, with “only a 15 percent change of a G1 Minor storm overnight” Wednesday to Thursday.

    “At this level, a faint glow of the aurora may be visible under ideal conditions to those in the states bordering Canada,” he said.

    h/t Space Weather Prediction Center

    More opportunities

    Brasher added, however, that “while this might be a bust … there will be more opportunities in the future” for Fremont County residents hoping to see the Northern Lights.

    “The Sun goes through an 11-year cycle, alternating between time of maximum and minimum activity, and we are approaching the point of maximum activity,” Brasher explained. “We have had two Severe G4 storms this year in March and April, and these caused the aurora to be seen as far south as Arizona and Oklahoma. 


    “Although it is difficult to predict these events more than a few days in advance, we can say that with solar maximum approaching, there will be more on the way.”

    The Space Weather Prediction Center is “on watch” 24 hours a day, monitoring solar activity in order to provide “the most accurate forecasts possible for the protection of critical infrastructure and essential services,” Brasher said, encouraging people to “stay informed through our homepage, various products, aurora dashboard, and our product subscription service as we closely monitor the space environment.”


    Related Posts

    Have a news tip or an awesome photo to share?