Auroras may be visible across Canada and the northern parts of Montana, North Dakota and Michigan Nov. 8 to 11, courtesy of a low-density spot in the sun's corona.
Auroras last night (Nov. 7) were spotted in Alaska, Vermont, New York, Wyoming, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Nebraska, according to Spaceweather.com, which regularly tracks space weather events. The glowing lights appear when charged particles from the sun — the solar wind — interact with Earth's magnetic field.
The solar wind is flowing particularly strongly since yesterday because of a hole in the sun's upper atmosphere, which is called the corona, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The holes are low-density regions in the sun's atmosphere that come and go over time. They appear darker than their surroundings, NASA officials have said — and these holes let particles fly out of the sun three times faster than they do in the surrounding regions of its atmosphere.
Those particles have generated minor and moderate geomagnetic storms in Earth's magnetosphere, and SWPC predicts that this will continue for the next few days.
You can track the northern lights and see if they're likely to reach your location, using SWPC's 30-minute aurora forecast tool here: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/node/45
A collection of tweets shows some of the spectacular auroras spotted in the past day. If you're near the area indicated on NOAA's map, be sure to look outside for your own!