The northern lights may be seen Friday and Saturday night along the northern horizon and are often visible up to 1,000 kilometers away, potentially visible as far south as Northern California and Alabama, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The geomagnetic storm is predicted to begin today and continue throughout the weekend.

A geomagnetic storm is a disturbance in Earth’s outer atmosphere caused by eruptions of plasma from the sun, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Geomagnetic storms can potentially weaken high-frequency communications, such as radio and radar, anything working in between the range of three to 30 MHz, according to a Techopedia article by Margaret Rouse.

GPS, power grids, satellite navigation and other technology may also be affected, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explained that power grid issues are typically avoidable when the operators are aware of the incoming storm.

The geomagnetic storm is caused by coronal mass ejections coming from an intricate sunspot cluster 16 times Earth’s diameter.

“Coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, are large clouds of solar plasma and embedded magnetic fields released into space after a solar eruption. CMEs expand as they sweep through space, often measuring millions of miles across, and can collide with planetary magnetic fields,” according to an article by EarthSky.

EarthSky explains that these coronal mass ejections are caused by movement inside of the sun that wrenches the planet’s magnetic field, causing expulsion of energy in one distinct direction, in this case, towards Earth.

Earth’s most recent extreme-rated, the level above severe, geomagnetic storm happened in Oct. 2003.

An image taken of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, during the most recent 2005 extreme geomagnetic storm at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.

An image taken of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska. Photo credit: Joshua Strang via Flickr

The 2003 severe geomagnetic storm created power outages in Sweden and damaged power transformers in South Africa, according to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Here is a link to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 30-minute Aurora forecast.