An explosion of plasma from the sun means Wisconsin could again see the northern lights make an appearance Wednesday night — if the weather cooperates.
Wisconsinites in the northern half of the state could have trouble seeing the lights due to cloud cover Wednesday night, according to Paul Collar, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Milwaukee / Sullivan. However, he said residents in the southern half of the state are expected to have better luck.
Here's what to know about the sky's latest show in Wisconsin.
Who will get to see the northern lights?
The entire state of Wisconsin has the potential to see northern lights, or aurora borealis, Wednesday night. The northern lights could also be visible in Minnesota, northern Michigan, the Dakotas and Montana, according to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.
While geomagnetic activity is expected to be less Thursday night, far northern Wisconsin communities, such as Rhinelander and Bayfield, could see the northern lights Thursday night. However, thunderstorms are forecast for that time in those areas, according to the NWS.
What's causing this?
A coronal mass ejection, or CME, is launching plasma and magnetic fields from the sun's corona, according to NOAA Space Weather. This CME is expected to reach Earth on Wednesday night.
When the particles from the CME reach our planet, the charged particles interact with Earth's magnetosphere, causing the northern lights to appear.
POSSIBILITY FOR STRONG STORMS CONTINUE: While one CME is currently impacting Earth, the Sun launched yet another CME at Earth this afternoon. This solar storm, seen as a full halo, is expected to arrive late on Wednesday night into Thursday morning as a potentially strong… pic.twitter.com/ae8tVuntwq
— Space Weather Watch (@spacewxwatch) May 10, 2023
How can I watch the northern lights Wednesday night?
The best time to see the northern lights is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., according to NOAA, in areas where there's less light pollution from cities.
The best views will likely come from central and southern Wisconsin, Collar said, with "mainly clear skies with a few thin high clouds" expected in that region tonight.
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However, cloud cover in far northern Wisconsin means viewing the northern lights could be more difficult for aurora-hunters who live in or north of Green Bay, Wausau and Eau Claire, Collar said.
Rebecca Loroff is a breaking and trending news reporter for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: When can you see the northern lights in Wisconsin? Here's what to know