After being gone for a few years, a storm chasing expert says the Northern Lights are lighting up the sky once again.
Jordan Carruthers is the Founder of Manitoba Storm Chasers. Normally he focuses on chasing tornados and nasty weather in the summer months but this winter, as the Northern Lights have returned, he is adding to his work and services.
"In the summer months, I spend my time chasing severe weather across Canada and the USA."
Not only does Carruthers chase storms but he invites the public to join him on Storm Chasing Tours.
"I thought, why not tie it into our Storm Chasing Tours and offer Northern Lights Chasing Tours. There are a lot of people that live in heavily light-polluted places like Winnipeg or Brandon and they don't always get the opportunity to walk out their door and see the Northern Lights."
People have been asking Carruthers where they can see the aurora borealis and at what time.
"Northern Lights have been a hot topic lately. We've been moving into a new solar cycle so we're seeing a lot more Northern Lights activity."
The phenomenon is caused by solar flares coming off the sun. When the particles hit the atmosphere, it causes the blue/green ribbons of light, according to Carruthers.
"For the last few years, we've been at a solar minimum, towards the end of solar cycle 24. The new cycle began in December so now for the next few years we should start seeing more of an increase in frequency for them, likely peaking around 2025."
Near the end of the solar cycle the lights will still be visible but less frequently show up in the sky.
"It's been a pretty active month so far. In the winter we tend to get a lot more clear skies at night, which gives us a better opportunity to see them."
Carruthers says it's quite hard to predict when they will show up, but he has most commonly seen them in the sky between 8:30 pm until 2:00 am.
"The interlake region or up around the lakes is our favourite places to go just because there are not a lot of towns or cities that are polluting the sky with light."