• Northern lights putting on a celestial show this week in parts of U.S.

    By: Fiza Pirani The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    For the past nine days, many stargazers in the northern hemisphere have been able to catch a glimpse of the enigmatic night time light show known as the northern lights.

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    If you’ve missed out on the spectacle so far, you may get another chance between Wednesday, Sept. 13 and Saturday, Sept. 16, according to predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    >> Related: Must-see: Northern lights brighten the nigth sky in parts of U.S., Canada

    The Northern Lights (or the aurora borealis) are caused when electrically charged particles from the sun collide and enter the earth’s atmosphere, according to EarthSky.org.

    The colliding disturbances drive electrons in the atmosphere wild, causing them to emit the photons we experience as the fascinating light show of the aurora borealis.

    According to Conde Nast Traveler, a sunspot known as Active Region (AR) 2673 has released a total of seven flares since September 4. As a result, Americans in the north have had at least two chances at catching the lights in the past nine days.

    NOAA

    If conditions are right, residents in parts of Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Washington may also get a rare chance to witness the spectacle

    NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center has a nifty 30-minute aurora forecast and a three-day forecast model on its website where you can follow the lights yourself.

    Sample screenshot of aurora borealis 3-day forecast for Sept. 14 between approximately 8-10 p.m. EST. NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

    Note that the aurora will not be visible during daylight hours and it may be an hour or more before sunrise or after sunset that the aurora can be seen from earth.

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