The Northern Lights, known as aurora borealis, are an incredible natural spectacle usually seen in Canada and Scandinavia. However, an upcoming solar storm has stirred up excitement as the lights are expected to be visible in 17 different states across the US. This article explores this rare opportunity for sky gazers to witness the breathtaking display.
To catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, it is crucial to have a clear and dark sky. Experts at the Geophysical Institute recommend keeping an eye out for aurora activity during the three to four hours around midnight, although sightings can occur throughout the night. For optimal viewing, it is advisable to escape the bright city lights between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time.
The Northern Lights are caused by a collision between a solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field. This collision leads to the illumination of atoms, resulting in the mesmerizing light show. The upcoming solar storm is predicted to intensify auroral activity, making the lights more visible for spectators.
Solar maximums, cycles of heightened solar activity, occur approximately every 11 years. The current cycle is projected to reach its peak in 2024, which means we can expect more solar storms and increased Northern Lights activity. In exceptional instances, the lights have been seen as far south as California and Arizona. The Geophysical Institute even remembers a remarkable event in 1958 when the lights were visible from as far south as Mexico City.
As the Northern Lights prepare for a rare appearance in various US states, anticipation is building among nature enthusiasts and sky gazers. With the right conditions and a stroke of luck, residents of these states may be treated to a dazzling display of colors in the night sky.
The upcoming solar storm presents an exciting opportunity for Americans to experience the Northern Lights without traveling far from home. As the lights are expected to be visible in 17 states, individuals in places like Annapolis, Maryland, and Boise, Idaho, have a chance to witness this stunning natural phenomenon. Make sure to find a clear and dark sky, escape the bright city lights, and keep an eye out for auroral activity during the recommended timeframe. With a bit of luck, you may be granted a front-row seat to an unforgettable display of nature’s beauty.