We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

— Oscar Wilde

Northern Lights?

Media and social media are filled with alerts that the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) will be visible. This unfortunately could be just a tempest in a teapot.

Although its flattering when the media actually pays attention to the sky, rather than whatever garbage is happening on reality TV shows, one wishes they could excerise some restraint.

The solar flare that occured a couple days ago was an M-Class flare which means it was medium sized. The last bright display of the Northern Lights visible in NJ was back in 2003. That spectacular display was caused by an X-Class flare which was much more powerful than this one.

So we would not expect to see much under the light polluted skies of the Garden State. It's a nice night so go outside and enjoy a little stargazing. If we're really lucky we might see something in the northern sky but don't expect a big show.

The Sun is near maximum activity in its sunspot cycle for most of the year, so perhaps we'll get a strong solar flare or eruption sometime in the near future that will allow us to see aurora in NJ again.