Northern Lights, meteor shower may be visible over NJ tonight
A rare astronomical event may add some color to the skies over New Jersey tonight: the aurora borealis. And of the light show falls short, there's always a meteor shower to watch for instead.
John Bochanski, assistant professor of physics at Rider University who also teaches astronomy, explained that the Northern Lights show is visible to us because "the sun has been a little more active that usual. The sun is always producing not only light but sends electrons and protons away from its surface and some of those particles made their way toward the earth. When there's a large amount of them incoming then that's our best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in New Jersey."
The Aurora can be seen anytime after sunset, which is just before 5 p.m. and last for several hours. "Look north," said Bochanski, who warns that light pollution will prevent us from viewing the spectacular lights seen in northern regions such as Canada. For the best show, finding someplace dark or rural may be your best bet.
"Get away from urban areas and find somewhere dark," NJ 101.5 Meteorlogist Dan Zarrow said. "Far North Jersey would be the best bet."
Bochanski also suggests areas of the Pine Barrens will provides a dark spot to watch the lights.
If the Northern Lights show doesn't work out there's also the Taurdis meteor shower, according to Space.com, which is just getting started. Meteors will streak across the sky a bit slower than other meteors creating brilliant, yellow-orange colored "Halloween fireballs." As the shower reaches its peak, up to a dozen meteors per hour may be seen according to space.com.
Bochanski said that just before sunrise, Mars, Venus and Jupiter will all be visible in the eastern sky.