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Look up! Northern Lights could extend into Michigan Saturday night

A solar flare was spotted on Wednesday. Now, we wait for the energy to reach the atmosphere.
Credit: Nathan Biller
The northern lights shine over Little Sable Point Lighthouse near Silver Lake State Park in Michigan on July 16, 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — A solar flare was spotted on Wednesday, March 20, and that could bring the Northern Lights to Michigan skies soon. 

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch for Saturday, March 23. A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), a large discharge of energy from the sun, was observed from the solar flare. The speed of movement of the CME can vary, but scientists estimate the arrival of this energy around midday Saturday.  

The K-index is a numerical value given to the likelihood of aurora sighting. The forecast is up to a K-index of 6. The index ranges from 0-9, with a value of 5 or more meaning a geomagnetic storm is likely to occur. 

If you are interested in viewing the Northern Lights this weekend, head north away from city lights. Skies are forecast to be mostly clear Friday and Saturday nights. 

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