Northern Lights visible further south than usual

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MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – The northern lights are expected to put on a brilliant show tonight.

A potent blast of plasma shot out of the sun over the weekend, creating one of the biggest solar storms in the last decade.

Stargazers across the Midwest are being treated to a rare glimpse of the northern lights.

“Any sort of discoloration in the sky is probably a good hint you are seeing northern lights” says Alan Peche, Barlow Planetarium Director. 

When the sun sets Tuesday night scientists expect the northern lights to start their dance. 

“Last night was an exceptional night” Peche says. “There were reports that some people saw the aurora as far south as Georgia”. 

While the images captured by photographers are beautiful, do not plan to see the same sight out your window.

“That is not what their [naked] eye is showing them” Peche says. 

Patience is key when it comes to viewing the northern lights because it can be several minutes between bursts of beautiful color. 

You also want to be in a rural setting where the city lights are not shining overhead. 

According to Peche “there will be greens in the sky and you will want to watch them over a period of time. They are not going to jump out at you like fireworks”. 

The solar storm even gave astronauts aboard the International Space Station a stunning light show. 

“It is interesting to see. It looks unworldly and it sort of is” Peche says. 

What makes this event so rare is just how many people are able to see the Aurora Borealis. 

According to Peche “Usually you have to be near the polls for them to be viewed, but if the storms get bigger and more energetic, the further north or south you get to see them more”. 

Even though the solar storm was strong, visibility of the northern lights is always a prediction, not a promise. 

“We are depending on something that started this storm 93 million miles away from us” Peche says.  

If you capture pictures of the northern lights tonight send them to Local 5. Click here to “share it”.  

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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