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Don't worry, Idaho, you may have one last chance to see the Northern Lights on Sunday evening

Any Idahoans who feel like they missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime solar storm may have one last chance to see it Sunday evening.

The “ongoing geomagnetic storm is likely to intensify again,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center said Sunday social media.

The forecast center issued a severe geomagnetic storm warning on Sunday. NOAA uses a G1 to G5 scale for geomagnetic activity.

On Friday, the forecast center issued a G5 watch for severe geomagnetic storms for the first time since 2003. On Sunday there will be the first G4 watch since 2005.

“The Space Weather Prediction Center is predicting another peak solar storm originating from one of the sunspots on the sun,” Spencer Tangen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boise, told the Idaho Statesman in a telephone interview.

“That's essentially what caused the aurora borealis that we were able to see a few nights ago,” Tangen continued.

He said experts are predicting another peak starting Sunday afternoon, which will be visible once the sky darkens after 10 p.m. and could last until 3 or 4 a.m

A rare glimpse of the northern lights appeared near Boise on Friday.  The phenomenon was made possible by a large solar storm that interacted with the Earth's magnetic field and produced glowing atmospheric gases.

A rare glimpse of the northern lights appeared near Boise on Friday. The phenomenon was made possible by a large solar storm that interacted with the Earth's magnetic field and produced glowing atmospheric gases.

When it came to seeing the impressive light show, Spencer's only concern was the cloud cover. Weather patterns suggest clouds could roll over the Treasure Valley around midnight.

While the intensity of the solar storm decreased sharply on Saturday, an increase is expected on Sunday, Spencer said.

“The forecast isn't quite as strong as Friday evening, but it's still pretty rare that we see severe G4 solar storms,” ​​Tangen said.

To have the best chance of seeing them, people in Boise should seek out areas with low light pollution, experts told the Idaho Statesman.

Experts predict Sunday could be the last chance to see the Northern Lights.

It may still be possible to see the aurora on Monday evening, Tangen added, but the likelihood is lower and it would only be the end of the solar storm.

The aurora borealis phenomenon is triggered by solar storm particles entering the Earth's magnetic field and interacting with atmospheric gases, creating a colorful, luminous display typically visible near the north and south poles, the Idaho Statesman previously reported.

The Northern Lights will appear north of Lucky Peak State Park near Boise on Friday.The Northern Lights will appear north of Lucky Peak State Park near Boise on Friday.

The Northern Lights will appear north of Lucky Peak State Park near Boise on Friday.

Anna Harden

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