Buffalo might be able to see Aurora Borealis this Friday night

Aurora Borealis, at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, might seem unlikely, but Business Insider reports that, because of a rare coronal hole in the sun, an outsized burst of solar wind will briefly push the Northern Lights further south on Friday March 24, and there’s a chance Buffalo and the rest of the northern U.S. will get a light show. Scientists are unsure how far south the aurora will extend, but predict that visiblity will reach somewhere between the green and yellow lines on this chart:

As for the source of the phenomena, there isn’t actually a hole in the sun — it’s a (relatively) cool spot on the sun’s surface, the width of 20-30 Earths, which produces an unusually large amount of solar wind, a stream of charged particles the sun is constantly pushing out in all directions. Aurora Borealis results from the solar wind interacting with charged particles in the atmosphere, so more solar wind means a larger aurora.

The odds of the phenomenon reaching as far South of Buffalo are slim, and as always, the odds of Buffalo not having cloud cover are slimmer, but it can’t hurt to spend a little of your Friday night watching the skies.