The shimmering curtain of light known as the aurora borealis is expected to be visible to much of New Jersey and several other Northern states tonight, according to forecasts.
As of 11 am this morning, the Northern Lights, as they're also known, are expected to appear beginning around 8 pm Eastern time, although the exact time may change due to shifting conditions. There’s also a possibility the aurora will not be visible from this area at all.
A Twitter feed has been created to provide updates throughout the day Saturday.
The phenomenon is caused when particles discharged by the Sun during a solar flare strike our atmosphere, with larger flares causing larger auroral displays. Usually, the aurora can only be seen at or near the North Pole, but a solar flare that occurred early Thursday morning was large enough to touch off a display that will be seen much farther south than normal.
The flare may also affect some electronic equipment, like cell phones and GPS systems. Radio and television trasmissions may also be briefly disrupted.
Viewing conditions in New Jersey are expected to be “good.” The display is best viewed in the dark, far from other, manmade sources of light.