A big sunspot unleashed a giant solar flare that reached the Earth's magnetic field on July 14th at approximately 2pm. A geomagnetic storm is brewing in the wake of the impact. At the moment, conditions appear favorable for auroras over high-latitude places such as Canada, Scandinavia, Antarctica and Siberia. It is too early to say whether the storm will intensify and bring auroras to middle latitudes as well.
What you will be able to see before sunrise on Sunday is a three-way conjunction. Looking east before 6am, you'll see Venus, Jupiter and the crescent Moon gathering together.
There is a sequence events in the formation of the Northern Lights. First, a sudden burst of energized particles leave the sun and when these particles reach Earth, they are attracted by the North and South Magnetic Poles and move towards them. The ionosphere is the highest level of the atmosphere, more than 50 miles (80 km) above the earth. In the ionosphere these charged particles collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen. The oxygen and nitrogen atoms become ionized, or excited, and they give off a burst of colored light.
In order to know whether you have a chance of seeing an aurora, you need to know the level of geomagnetic activity at the time you are viewing. There is a simple index called Kp, a number from 0 to 9, which is used to refer to geomagnetic activity for a 3-hour period. In order for the Channel 6 viewing area to see the Northern Lights the Kp-index must equal 7 or higher.
You can find the Kp-index on the left hand side of the page by visiting: http://spaceweather.com/