Why recent forecasts on northern lights might be spotty


July 14, 2023

Carla Goldschmidt

Laura Campbell (pictured) wrote a column in last week's Pine Knot News about her adventure watching the northern lights before moving away from Minnesota, her safe place since the pandemic. Here's what she wrote about watching the aurora borealis: "It makes you feel small in the larger waves of the world, yet never feel so alive. Their physical appearance is probably best described as pillars of light dancing in the moonlight. A series of mesmerizing, crystalized curtains, twinkling in hues of green, violet and indigo that can rapidly shift like the night sky is alive and full of electric momentum."

MPR News

In recent days there's been a lot of chatter in the media, including on the Minnesota Public Radio News website, and among friends about prospects for seeing the northern lights in Minnesota this week. But some experts say those predictions may have been premature - or just wrong.

Bob King, who writes the "Astro Bob" blog, told MPR's "Minnesota Now" that a key factor in predicting whether the aurora will be visible is what's known as the Kp index, with forecasts released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Ce...

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