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Northern lights may expand south next couple days

By Associated Press
Published On: Jan 09 2014 04:51:25 AM MST
OTD August 28 - northern lights

United States Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang

1859: A geomagnetic storm causes the Aurora Borealis to shine so brightly that it is seen clearly over parts of the United States, Europe and even as far away as Japan.

WASHINGTON -

 Northerners thawing out from a bitter freeze may get rewarded with shimmering northern lights the next couple days.
    
Federal space weather forecaster Joe Kunches said the sun shot out a strong solar flare late Tuesday, which should arrive at Earth early Thursday. It should shake up Earth's magnetic field and expand the Aurora Borealis south, possibly as far south as Colorado and central Illinois. He said best viewing would probably be Thursday evening, weather permitting.
    
The University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute predicts much of Canada and the northern fringes of the U.S. should see the northern lights. Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Seattle and Des Moines might see the shimmering colors low on the horizon.
    
The solar storm is already diverting airline flights around the poles and may disrupt GPS devices Thursday.