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Aurora Borealis

What's your chance of seeing the northern lights tonight? A look at Saturday's forecast

Illuminating the night sky with pink, green and gray colors, the northern lights made its appearance in the United Kingdom and the northern half of the United States on Friday. The magical phenomena could happen again tonight.

The show fascinated many onlookers as they took out their phones to capture the beauty of the night sky. On Friday, the issued extreme (G5) conditions across the United States. A storm of this intensity has not been seen since October 2003. The storm gained the name "Halloween Storm" and caused many power outages in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa, according to .

Meteorologists have predicted that the northern lights can be visible on Saturday as well as Sunday. If you are going outside to see the northern lights, forecasters want to remind the public that their solar eclipse glasses can be used for viewing the phenomenon.

Here's what you need to know to prepare for the next viewing of the northern lights.

The northern lights:Danced across the US last night. It could happen again Saturday.

What is the cloud forecast Saturday night? Will clouds block the northern lights?

If you missed the aurora borealis Friday night, you might still catch a glimpse on Saturday or Sunday, depending on where you live.聽But not if clouds get in the way.

The cloud forecast for Saturday night is generally good for most of America, but some of the people who missed their chance last night due to clouds may have a similar problem Saturday, said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines. Areas that are likely to be cloudy include New England and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as parts of the Southern Plains, including Oklahoma, Kansas and 91影视.

鈥淓ven just a few breaks in the clouds will allow the aurora to be visible,鈥 Kines said. 鈥淭here鈥檚 always hope.鈥

Peak visibility time Saturday night will be between 9 p.m. and midnight, with some chance until 2 a.m., Kines said. The best views will be in dark areas away from the light pollution of cities, he said, though some reported seeing the auroras Friday night from metro areas like Milwaukee and Detroit.

Sunday night, if there is any aurora to see, those in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic can rejoice, because Kines said the skies should be clearer.

Where can you see the northern lights tonight?

The Space and Weather Prediction Center聽聽that shows the aurora may be visible in a wide swath of the 91影视 including Oregon, Nebraska, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Other states like California, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida could also see the sky light up again for an encore performance. But visibility will depend on shifting factors that include weather, pollution and cloud cover.

Below are forecast predictions for seeing the northern lights in New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana on Saturday.

New York

Rain and clouds are expected to damper expectations to see the aurora borealis around the Rochester, N.Y. area. Elsewhere in NY, the聽Lower Hudson Valley could see the lights again, if weather permits.聽

Michigan

Saturday and Sunday show the aurora will be visible in mid to northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

Saturday and Sunday are predicted to be mostly cloudy with some rain showers and isolated thunderstorms. The NWS predicted 48% to 58% sky cover in metro Detroit from 8 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. The western portion of both peninsulas are expected to have a lower cloud cover.

Wisconsin

In the Milwaukee area, the evening is expected to bring mostly clear skies and overnight will have scattered clouds, said Tim Halbach, local meteorologist with the National Weather Service.聽

Ohio

Those living around the Cincinnati region could be treated to the northern lights Saturday night with the , office forecasting dry, partly cloudy conditions. Clouds shouldn't be an issue as many Ohioans reported seeing the lights Friday despite some cloud cover.

Indiana

聽In a telephone interview, Mike Bettwy, operations chief聽of the NOAA's聽聽in Boulder, Co, said Indianapolis and surrounding areas might have a better chance of seeing the aurora today and Sunday.

They can expect clear skies tonight, Bettwy said.

"The aurora itself might be actually a little bit less active than it was last night," he told IndyStar. "I think the ability for you to see it will be better because the skies will be clearing out 鈥 at least in the Indianapolis area and that immediate vicinity."

Northern lights forecast path

If you want to get a better idea of if you will be able to see the northern lights from your state, check ,听which has a 30-minute forecast window.聽

The auroras are a natural light display in Earth's sky that are famously best seen in high-latitude regions.

Scientist left amazed by the aurora

The aurora seen on May 10 amazed Antonella Fruscione, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. She sent photos of the lights and the April eclipse to her friends in Italy. The northern lights weren't as prominent in Italy as it was in other places.

"And I sent them the picture that I took at the solar eclipse and I said, 'Can you imagine how fortunate I was this year, one month apart, I see these two incredible spectacles of the universe,'" she recalled telling them.

The phenomena seen Friday and possibly Saturday night isn't usual, she said.

"It's a very rare occurrence, especially because last night it was really visible," Fruscione said.

That's because the Earth's magnetic activity was at a nine, the highest the index goes, coupled with the Sun being at an active peak, causing eruptions. She added the colors cannot be predicted either as it depends on how the solar energetic particles interact with oxygen and nitrogen atoms. Oxygen appears green, while nitrogen appears purple, blue or pink, she said.

"It just depends on which atoms in the atmosphere this particle interact with," Fruscione said.

She declined to predict how strong Saturday's aurora could be as it's not in her expertise, but said people make predictions all the time about space weather not just for the northern lights, but to ensure communications, space stations, astronauts and other matter in space doesn't get majorly disrupted.

Down on Earth, however, the activity is harmless to humans.

"It's completely harmless because the particles do not don't do not reach us," Fruscione said. "The reason why we see the colors is that the particle interacts with the atoms and they make these beautiful colors and that's it."

For Saturday, and any other day where chatter about the aurora borealis is high, Fruscione encouraged people to download an aurora forecasting app to their phones so they can see the colorful skies.

What are the northern lights?

Nashville, Tennessee residents see the northern lights illuminate the night sky on Friday, May 10.

The northern lights materialize when energized particles from the sun reach Earth's upper聽atmosphere聽at speeds of up to 45 million mph,听.聽Earth's magnetic field聽redirects the particles toward the poles through a process that produces a stunning display of rays, spirals and flickers that has fascinated humans for millennia.

Contributing: Eric Lagatta and Dinah Voyles Pulver, 91影视; Tanya Wildt, Detroit Free Press; Alex Groth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Contributing: Bebe Hodges, Cincinnati Enquirer; Contributing: Steve Howe, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; Rockland/Westchester Journal News; Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star

Ahjane虂 Forbes is a reporter on the National Trending Team at 91影视. Ahjane虂 covers breaking news, car recalls, crime, health, lottery and public policy stories. Email her at聽aforbes@gannett.com. Follow her on聽,听听补苍诲听

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