Chicagoans may get a rare glimpse of the Northern Lights over the city this weekend due to an unusually large solar flare.
An enormous explosion of magnetized plasma — or coronal mass ejection — burst from the Sun on Wednesday following a smaller solar flare, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The ejection is expected to reach Earth on Saturday and light up the skies in much of the northern and southern hemispheres, according to a geomagnetic storm watch issued by the prediction center.
Chicago is on the southern edge of the area most likely to be hit with the Aurora’s light. Those away from the light pollution of the city have the best chance to see the phenomenon.
Coronal mass ejections are the largest and most destructive type of flares emitted from the sun.
A recent study found the ejections result from disruptions of the coronal magnetic field. A disruption allows for a bubble of plasma to form on the Sun’s surface and then tear off and erupt.