The aurora is the result of collisions between particles in the Earth’s atmosphere and charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. When this happens we can see the beautiful colours appearing in the sky. The aurora may appear in every colour range, but the most common colour is green. Aurora borealis is also known as the northern lights.
IS EXPECTED RIGHT NOW
The KP number is a system of measuring aurora strength. It goes from 0 to 9 (0 being very weak, 9 being a major geomagnetic storm with strong auroras visible). So when you’re looking at the aurora forecast page, you want to look for high Kp numbers. The higher the better. Anything above (and including) Kp5 is classed as a geomagnetic storm.
To better understand the KP value and how it impacts visibility from your location you need to know your magnetic latitude. When you know the magnetic latitude you can use the table as a reference and determine if the northern lights are visible from your location or not.
It’s important to mention that a high KP value does not guarantee that the aurora is visible, however it is a great pointer to when it’s worth going out looking for it.
|MAGNETIC LATITUDE||KP NUMBER|
SOLAR WIND MAGNETIC FIELDS
Bz is part if the IMF (interplanetary magnetic field). If the Bz is a negative number (also called southward) there is a bigger chance to see the aurora. If the number is positive theres lesser of a chance to see it.
Bt value indicates the total strength of the interplanetary magnetic field. A higher value indicates enhanced geomagnetic conditions.
GEOMAGNETIC STORMS (G-SCALE)
G value indicates the strength of the aurora storm.
G0 = Kp 4 and below = None
G1 = Kp 5 = Minor
G2 = Kp 6 = Moderate
G3 = Kp 7 = Strong
G4 = Kp 8 = Severe
G5 = Kp 9 = Extreme
Visit NOAA for more information about the G-scale.