Click to see a video showing a nice variety of views of the May 22 flare from the space-based solar observatories SDO and SOHO.
A strong M5-class flare from sunspot region 1745 on May 22 sent a sideways blast of material from the sun into space. A portion of it is expected to brush past Earth overnight and possibly spark auroras. There’s a 20% chance for a minor auroral storm for mid-latitudes and a 55% chance of a major storm at high latitudes. Tomorrow night that drops to 15% / 30%.
According to Spaceweather.com the smack down happens around 7 a.m. Central time tomorrow morning May 24. Don’t take that too literally – the ebb and flow of solar particles and their success in circumventing Earth’s protective magnetic field to create an aurora can make times a bit unpredictable.
Complicating viewing forecasts is the nearly full moon; its light can easily wash away a modest aurora. So it sounds like I’m discouraging you, but I’m really not. Keep an eye on the Kp index (an indicator of potential auroral activity) and the auroral oval. If the index jumps into the red where Kp=5 or greater, consider stepping outside for a look.