The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis have been very visible on Prince Edward Island lately. And on this particular trip I figured I would cover some tips on how to see the Northern Lights from mid-latitude locations.
The Key Indexes
None of these indexes are set in stone as a key figure that will allow you 100% success on your aurora borealis hunting. If you combine them all, your chances definitely increase. For myself, I look for a combination of all 3 before I will depart on any aurora adventure.
- Follow the KP Index: The KP Index is a number typically ranging from 0-9 that determines the level of activity the Aurora Borealis is presenting at. Typically for PEI, you need around a 5 to be able to see them on the horizon.
- Monitor the Solar Wind Speed: When the sun gives off a solar flare, it sends a large amount of wind. In the event this wind is earth facing, it will cause the solar wind speed to increase. Anything around 500km/sec will assist in making the aurora more visible. Big thanks to Tamitha Skov for this tip.
- The BZ Level: Think of the BZ index as the determining factor if a door is open or closed. If the BZ number is positive then the door is closed and the aurora borealis cannot get in. If the BZ number is a negative integer then the door is open and the Northern Lights will be visible.