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Anticipated Encore of the Northern Lights Following a Rare Extreme Geomagnetic Storm

Following a stunning display of the northern lights across extensive parts of Canada and some regions of the United States last night, sky watchers are poised for a second round this evening. The Space Weather Prediction Centre (SWPC) has announced that conditions similar to last night’s extreme (G5) geomagnetic storm are expected to repeat tonight, Saturday, May 11, 2024. This level of solar activity, rare in its intensity, made the aurora borealis visible far south of its usual range, reaching as far south as Mexico, Texas, and Florida.

In Canada, the spectacle was particularly magnificent, with the northern lights visible directly overhead in many regions, instead of merely along the horizon. Unfortunately, for those in Southern Ontario, tonight’s viewing conditions may be compromised by mostly cloudy skies. However, there are notable exceptions in regions such as Deep Southwestern Ontario, around Windsor and Chatham, where skies are expected to be clear. Parts of Central and Eastern Ontario, particularly in the north, might also experience less cloud cover, improving chances for a clear view.

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The best viewing opportunities tonight are anticipated in Northeastern Ontario, where skies are expected to be clearest. Despite the cloud cover in other regions, intermittent breaks in the clouds throughout the night may still offer glimpses of the aurora. Viewers are encouraged to keep an eye on the sky and check for updates on areas with clear skies and aurora visibility.

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The solar storm, which has captivated many, is not expected to wane soon. It is anticipated to continue affecting Earth for the next few days, with Sunday night forecasted to be clearer in many regions. Hopes are high for a third consecutive night of northern lights, promising yet another chance for enthusiasts to witness this celestial phenomenon.

Photo by Jack Lee
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Many members of the Caught in Guelph (and Area) community have shared their captures of this event. Head on over and join in on the conversation in Guelph today.

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