🔴 An 11-year solar cycle is making it possible to see the Northern Lights farther south

If you're looking forward to seeing the Northern Lights in New Jersey Thursday you may be disappointed.

A solar storm forecast for Thursday is expected to give skygazers in 17 states a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights, a colorful sky show most often seen in Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia that happens when a magnetic solar wind hits the atmosphere.

The storm is part of an 11-year solar cycle that’s expected to peak in 2024 and is making the lights visible in places farther to the south.

Tips for watching the Northern Lights
Tips for watching the Northern Lights (Canva)

No promises for New Jersey

But New Jersey has a few strikes against it for being able to view nature's light show.

The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks predicts the Northern Lights will be visible from Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Indiana, Maine and Maryland.

New Jersey is not on that list although it's not completely out of the question.

There are two different schools of thought about how visible the lights will really be.

New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow says the website spaceweather.com is calling for a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm to pass close to Earth. NASA predicts a "glancing blow" while NOAA calls for a clean miss.

Zarrow said many meteorologists are leaning towards the later and believe the promise of the Northern Lights is an empty one.

Lastly, the forescast doesn't look like it's going to cooperate, according to Zarrow.

"With building clouds and a chance of thunderstorms Thursday night, it's fair to say viewing conditions won't be ideal in New Jersey," Zarrow said.

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