Northern Lights Could be Seen in Virginia 11/8

Northern Lights could be visible in the Valley once again.

Did you catch some blue lights in the sky Monday night?

Well believe it or not they were actually aurora's, or northern lights.

Maybe I should have done this blog yesterday but I wasn't expecting them to show up until the middle of this week.

Although astronomers are anticipating that we will see more lights possibly tonight and tomorrow.

The northern lights are a product of sunspot activity, and the glow comes from pulses of geomagnetic activity hitting the magnetically charged particles in our upper atmosphere, also called the ionosphere.


According to there have been some large solar flares since this past weekend.
But not only do we need these large solar flares to see the northern lights, we need a cloud of charged particles to follow the flares in order for the earth to be able to see the beautiful lights.                                    (picture courtesy of NOAA)



The strength of the Aurora energy is measured by NOAA's Space Center, and they have a K-Index to show where the lights should be visible. Looking at the chart, we need a K-index of a 7-8 to see the lights in the Valley. 




Depending on the strength of the solar flare and if a cloud follows the flare, NOAA says the lights could be visible within as little as 18 hours, or up to 3-4 days.

If you want to check to see what the K-index is you can look at

On the left side of the page you will see a picture like the one here.

Look at the Planetary K-Index, or you can click on the image and on the left side it will (vertically) say "activity level", Look for a high number of 7 or 8.

Thankfully the skies will be clear once again tonight so hopefully we can see some more dazzling lights. Clouds will most likely inhibit our view Wednesday night.


Although rare for the Aurora to be strong enough to be seen this far south, it does happen.

Happy Viewing!

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