(UPDATED) A big storm is exploding on the sun, which could lead to a light show here on earth this weekend. Beware, there is a G2 (Kp=6)-geomagnetic storm watch for Sunday.

UPDATE 7/16/17 at 12:02pm From the National Weather Service (NWS):

Looks like you'll have to travel further north if you want to view the Northern Lights. However, you may get a glimpse of two of the Northern Lights in the Rockford Area, but for the full show a road trip to Northern Wisconsin will be required. According to the NWS.

The shock wave from last week's solar flare reached the Earth shortly after midnight. This was a little faster than initially thought, and because of that, the potential for seeing Northern Lights this far south is much lower. There may still be some possibility in northern Illinois (between about 10 pm and 3 am, when twilight is no longer an issue), but the best chances in the region will be across Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. Areas south of I-74 will likely have a minimal chance, due to more clouds and the southern latitude.

NWS Graphic

(Original Story Below)


Yes, we might be able to see the Northern Lights here in the Stateline this weekend, due to a sunspot eruption..

An advisory issued by the NIU Weather Center on Friday said:

Heads up! Sunspot AR2665 erupted big time last night, producing a long, M2-class solar flare. It sent out a strong, bright Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that is headed straight for Earth. The Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a G2 (Kp=6)-geomagnetic storm watch for Sunday, as this flare was pointed directly at Earth. I would not be surprised if, after review of more data, that a G3 or higher watch goes into effect IF it looks as good as it does now.

So what exactly does this mean? According to NIU Weather, if you look up in the sky Saturday or Sunday nights you might be able to see the Northern Lights this far south, which is very rare. The best chance will be on Sunday night, because the chance of cloud cover will be less.

Grab a blanket, put on some bug spray, get away from the city lights and gaze up on what could be very colorful skies this weekend.

Catch Mark Charvat on Q98.5 from 3 p.m to 7 p.m.. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook