You might be able to see the northern lights over Metro Vancouver this weekend


Northern Lights / spring break travel deals
Aurora borealis with silhouette standing man on the mountain / Shutterstock

Stargazers may have the chance to view an awe-inspiring northern lights display over parts of Metro Vancouver during Labour Day long weekend.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm has been issued for Aug. 30 and a G1 (Moderate) geomagnetic storm has been issued for Sept. 1. These geomagnetic storm conditions are forecast in response to influences associated, “with a coronal hole high speed stream.”

northern lights
Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

As a result of the solar storms, on Sunday, Sept. 1, the University of Alaska Fairbanks predicts that Auroral activity will be high, and, weather permitting, there will be, “visible overhead from Inuvik, Yellowknife, Rankin and Iqaluit to Vancouver, Helena, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Bay City, Toronto, Montpelier, and Charlottetown, and visible low on the horizon from Salem, Boise, Cheyenne, Lincoln, Indianapolis and Annapolis.”

It also offers a rather jaw-dropping image of what that might look like:

Northern lights
Photo: University of Alaska Fairbanks

In order for us to see the aurora, however, the sky must be dark and clear; clouds are the biggest obstacles to auroral observations.

Stargazers should opt to travel as far away from city lights as possible in order to avoid light pollution that will obscure the clarity of heavenly bodies. While this works best in more remote places, anywhere that has a higher elevation will also provide more ideal viewing conditions.