Look To The Skies For Northern Lights Sighting Tonight

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Residents of Cheyenne and southeastern Wyoming will have an opportunity to see the Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis, on Tuesday night.

The light show, which rarely is visible in Wyoming, will be high on Tuesday but likely won’t be visible in the state on Wednesday.

To find it, don’t look straight up and expect a laser light show like Laser Floyd or Laser Zeppelin like you might see at a planetarium. Instead the lights will be visible low on the horizon (bring your own music).

The aurora is best seen — here comes the really obvious stuff — from a location with clear, dark skies and the best time to view it will be between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., the university said.

We have no idea how to capture the show on camera. But the Wyoming Stargazing Club does offer some tips. (It doesn’t help us because all we have is a cardboard disposable camera that we last used in 1997).

How is it possible that we can see the aurora borealis in September? We thought it was a winter thing.

Not so. Again, we look to the Wyoming Stargazing Club for answers. They tell us that the phenomenon can happen any time of year and in Jackson, they’ve witnessed it every month.

The auroral displays will be visible on Tuesday from cities in Canada down to Minneapolis, Minnesota and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The aurora borealis is a luminous glow seen around magnetic poles at the northern and southern hemispheres.

The light is caused by collisions between electrically-charged particles in space and oxygen and nitrogen gas in Earth’s atmosphere. Duh.

For more information, check out the University of Alaska-Fairbanks‘ Geophysical Institute.

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