North American aurora borealis fungal events expected from Saturday as weather conditions throughout the US and Canada improve
The spectacular Northern Lights are going into overdrive as weather conditions improve across parts of North America, and astronomers are predicting that this could be one of the best-ever seasons to watch the sky spectacle.
From September to December, the shooting stars, also known as aurora borealis, the aurora australis, the aurora australis (the southern lights) and the aurora australis (the northern lights), take on a mind-bending quality as they dance across the sky. They are caused by electrons colliding with oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere which causes the gases to glow in amazing hues of green, red and purple.
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Observers in north-eastern Canada and Alaska, and in Greenland and Iceland, will see the northern lights before sunset on most nights. On average, they appear about once a week on any given night.
However, the upcoming season has seen relatively dry conditions across parts of North America, meaning strong winds, rain and strong winds actually push the events forward to the south, and thus push them back over the North Pole.
Dr Tom Mooney, at Mount Lemmon SkyCenter near Tucson, Arizona, predicted that this would be a record-breaking season with the aurora in late October. This would be the second earliest occurrence on record.
The sightings in other parts of the US and Canada could also be spectacular. The southern lights, or aurora australis, have been most prominent in the south-east of the US.
“I think it’s looking pretty good for this year. If conditions hold, we could have what I call a Northern Lights event every night of the week,” said Geoff Chapman, a spokesman for NASA. “The weather patterns have been pretty good.”
A spokesperson for the Army Research Laboratory in California, sheme Doens, said that the majority of the Northern Lights activity would be visible in the northern counties, which could get their lights first.
In Seattle, Nasa planned to broadcast on-the-ground viewing events via webcam on three different nights, including on 27 October, 30 October and 31 October.