Locals might have the opportunity to spot a spooky green glow in the heavens this Halloween.
Metro Vancouver sky-watchers have a handful of chances to spot the aurora borealis in their communities over the next week due to some stormy space weather. — but tempestuous weather conditions might make viewing the astral display difficult.
The Metro Vancouver weather forecast includes more stormy weather this weekend as another atmospheric river brings heavy rain and wind into the region.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm warning for Oct. 29 to Oct. 30 due to "positive polarity CH HSS influences."
The stormy space weather creates active auroral displays in many parts of the northern hemisphere, including as far down as parts of the United States.
On Saturday (Oct. 29), the auroral activity are expected to be high. According to the University of Fairbanks (UAF), active auroral displays will be visible overhead from Inuvik to Thunder Bay, Ontario, and down to places south of the border including Seattle, Chicago, and Boston. That means folks in Metro Vancouver will have the possibility to observe the green glow
The university's online aurora monitor map shows what regions the aurora's green glow will likely reach, as well as other areas where there is less of a possibility. Additionally, there is a brief description below the map of the aurora activity on that particular day. You can switch to other days to see the forecast, too.
Keep in mind, however, that the aurora might not appear a vibrant green to your naked eye. Instead, you might observe a greyish formation in the sky.
On Sunday, the northern lights could be visible "low on the horizon from Vancouver, Great Falls, Pierre, Madison, Lansing, Ottawa, Portland and St. Johns," according to the forecast.
On Halloween, the forecast also includes the chance for a local sighting, with high auroral activity down as far as Seattle on the west coast.
On Tuesday, there's a chance the astral display will be "visible low on the horizon from Vancouver, Great Falls, Pierre, Madison, Lansing, Ottawa, Portland and St. Johns," again.
Wednesday's forecast includes the possibility of clearer skies, which might improve viewing conditions with highly auroral activity. After that, the university calls for a few more viewing opportunities until Nov. 5.
Everything B.C. residents need to know about viewing the Northern Lights
Want to view the vibrant, dancing lights in all of their sublime, celestial glory?
Light pollution in large cities makes the aurora borealis difficult to observe, but not impossible, given the right circumstances. That said, your best bet for viewing that hypnotic green glow is up north or outside of the city.
Since clear sky and darkness are both essential to see aurora, the best time is dictated by the weather and by the sunrise and sunset times.
The moon is also very bright and can make it more difficult to view the aurora, so lunar cycles should be taken into account. Photographing the colourful manifestation may also allow you to see them more clearly, as well as produce their vibrant colour.
- Find out more northern lights information and viewing tips with our comprehensive guide.