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Clearing sky could mean aurora show for Southcentral Alaskans

Suzanna Caldwell
Loren Holmes photo

After days of rain, a little sunshine in Southcentral Alaska means Anchorage residents looking forward to seeing a spectacular aurora display may get their chance Friday night.

Clouds will be spotty through the evening, according to the National Weather Service, giving Anchorage residents the prospect of a glimpse at the aurora.

The University of Alaska Fairbaks Geophysical Institute reports moderate to low aurora activity Friday through Sunday. The forecast shows much of the aurora is expected over Interior Alaska, although rain and cloud cover will keep residents from viewing it. 

Anchorage could fare better, though. The Weather Service reports clear skies Saturday night, though clouds could roll in Sunday night. That could change depending on how weather systems move, according to forecasters in Anchorage.

Currently, magnetic poles on the sun are flipping as part of an 11-year cycle. Scientists believe that process is approaching its “solar maximum,” prompting particle emissions from the sun that could cause intense aurora displays in the coming months.

While there's no way to know when the actual maximum will hit (that can only be calculated after the fact), Alaskans should get ready for serious northern lights through the fall and winter.