By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The aurora borealis will be on display for people in northeastern Wyoming on Thursday night, according to Wyoming weatherman Don Day.
Basically, anyone along Interstate 90, which runs in Wyoming from Sundance to through Sheridan and into Montana, has a chance to see the northern lights on Thursday night, once it gets “really dark,” Day said.
“A new solar cycle is starting, which means more sunspots and more potential for flares and coronal mass ejections (large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field from the sun),” Day told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday. “So the likelihood this winter and the following winters of seeing it are better and better.”
Despite predictions that the northern lights would be especially visible over the weekend, sightings were not as widespread as expected. However, photos from Sundance and the Devils Tower area have popped up on social media over the last 24 hours, with some residents and travelers capturing stunning photos of the aurora.
However, the further south someone is in the state, or the larger they city they live in, the less likely they are to see the lights, Day said.
“Only in really strong events will you be able to see the lights in the city,” he said. “It’s happened. I was in Laramie in the late 1980s and you could literally see it, but right now, your best bet to see them is to get away from city lights.”
Meaning people in Cheyenne and Laramie are probably not going to see the lights (at least on Thursday) unless they want to head north.
Day also said that anyone who has a digital camera and wanted to photograph the lights should be sure to have a tripod and to turn on their long exposure settings.
Those who are looking to take a photo of the lights with their cell phone can try out a couple of applications, but again, Day said the key is long exposure settings and a tripod so the camera won’t move.
After Thursday, Day said the lights likely won’t be as visible, if at all, in the northeastern portion of the state until the next solar event, which can’t be predicted.
“The stars have to line up, so to speak,” he said.
However, he did recommend anyone interested in tracking the lights’ visibility use the website spaceweather.com, which he also uses, since it is updated daily.