You Might See the Northern Lights Over the U.S. Tonight
The Northern Lights may be making a rare appearance over the United States this weekend.
On Friday, June 1, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) issued a G1 geomagnetic storm watch for the northern half of the world, including Canada, Alaska, and many northern U.S. states.
The watch comes thanks to a minor solar storm, which cannot harm human life on Earth.
When the sun experiences solar storms, it emits superheated plasma from its surface. That plasma is known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). A CME can trigger a geomagnetic storm, and in turn cause the Earth’s Northern Lights to light up even brighter than usual.
“[CMEs] are huge explosions of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun’s corona,” the SWPC previously explained. “When CMEs impact the Earth’s magnetosphere, they are responsible for geomagnetic storms and enhanced aurora.”
These storms are measured on a scale of G1 to G5, with G5 being the most extreme and most rare storm category.
According to the SWPC, this solar storm will cause the Northern Lights to be at their strongest between sunset Friday and 2 a.m. EST Saturday.
For your best chances at seeing the Northern Lights this weekend, head to states like Maine, Washington, Michigan, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
But while you’re there make sure to get out of the city and find the darkest area possible as the Northern Lights are notoriously hard to spot.
If you can’t make it out to go Northern Lights hunting this weekend, that’s OK too. You can always plan a trip to one of these places around the globe where you’ll have a much better chance of seeing the bright green, yellow, and purple lights brighten the night sky. Just make sure to pack your camera so you can make the memories last forever.