Minnesota Media Blamed For Misleading Public in Latest Northern Lights Story
As much as I want this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you, I do feel like someone needs to give it to you straight. I'm sorry, Minnesota, but there is a possibility that the media took the Northern Lights story just a little bit too far and you may be extremely disappointed on Thursday night.
Thousands in Minnesota May be Disappointed Thursday Night Due to Media Hype of Northern Lights
First, please know that I am also in the "media" world. I know what it is like to write multiple stories each day. Our world is very fast-paced and we are all wearing multiple hats, many of us our doing radio or TV shows at the same time, and I know how hard this job is and the expectations in front of us. Trust me. I get it. But please, for the love of all things, quit copying and pasting.
I say all of that because I've been following the Northern Lights for some time and luckily, I even had a chance to see them a few months ago as they were making a gorgeous display in the sky in the Rochester, Minnesota area. I was in awe and I hope that everyone who has this on their bucket list has an opportunity to see them...because the lights are just magical.
If you were hoping to fulfill that dream on Thursday this week, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but one of my credible sources says there is some extremely misleading information.
What Is The Actual Prediction for Seeing the Northern Lights on Thursday in Minnesota?
The stories that I started seeing about the Northern Lights today indicated that the University of Alaska's Geophysical Institute was predicting that numerous states, not just Minnesota, would have an opportunity to see the green and purple lights in the sky Thursday night. Some media outlets even are teasing that this could possibly be the best show of all time.
And then, there is a page that I use quite often for my Northern Lights research that showed how disappointed they were with the media hype and not checking multiple sources:
We disagree with this article, which cites a space weather forecast from the University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute, rather than consulting the official government provider of space weather information, NOAA/SWPC. While this misinformation is not purposeful, any expectation that millions of Americans will see the Northern Lights should be viewed with skepticism, as most space weather forecasts typically contain a healthy amount of uncertainty.
We are disappointed that the original information was shared by CBS News and copy-pasted by so many news outlets without fact-checking, nor first consulting experts in the space weather field. Currently, we are not expecting widespread aurora sightings in the U.S. on Thursday, as the pertinent space weather that would cause such an event would have only occurred today and tomorrow. We will keep you updated if things change, but at the moment, we feel this article and video is extremely misleading. - Space Weather Watch on Facebook
Where To Go For Accurate Information About the Northern Lights
Is there a possibility that the Northern Lights will still show up on Thursday? Maybe. Could the source in Alaska be right? Possibly. But I wouldn't plan on heading out for a night to see the lights just yet. Here's why - the site that I use for my stories, which is the same site mentioned above by Space Weather Watch, doesn't have any info yet on Northern Lights for Thursday.
Here's what I would do - look on Wednesday and Thursday morning at the Aurora Dashboard on the NOAA website. They will have a prediction like the one below that will show the forecast for the current night and one for the upcoming evening. It will even show you the time frame of when it might happen.
One other thing you can do is this - I will be watching on Wednesday and Thursday for info. If you'd like, come hang out on my Facebook page - Jessica On The Radio - and I'll share info if I see a sighting is possible.