Moderate geomagnetic storm watch could mean big NWT aurora

Last modified: September 28, 2020 at 10:00am

Astronomy North is forecasting three nights of active aurora over the NWT this week after a geomagnetic storm watch was issued.

The US Space Weather Prediction Centre has issued a moderate geomagnetic storm watch covering Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

That’s likely to mean a much higher probability than usual of seeing impressive aurora displays in southern Canada, but it also means active skies are likely over the NWT.


Astronomy North gave an 80-percent probability of active aurora on Monday night into Tuesday over Yellowknife. Ordinarily, a moderate evening would see at best a 50-percent probability.

The weather forecast, while not great, may still be good enough for aurora viewing.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is forecasting a partly cloudy night over Yellowknife on Monday, with cloudy periods on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, when Astronomy North says the lights are likely to remain highly active.

The forecast is clearer in Fort Simpson on Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning the Dehcho may have the best viewing opportunities.

“Geomagnetic field conditions will be unsettled with active periods overnight,” Astronomy North said of Monday night’s potential for strong aurora.


“Watch for active auroras overhead, with peak activity expected in the hours before and after local midnight.”