By Stacey Leasca
July 23, 2018
Credit: Getty Images

On the night of Monday, July 23, the northernmost states in the United States may be in for a rare and lovely display of the Northern Lights thanks to a solar storm headed our way.

A few days ago, the sun set off what is known as a geomagnetic storm. To kick off any solar storm, the Space Weather Prediction Center explained, the sun releases superheated plasma, which is known as a coronal mass ejection (CME).

“[CMEs] are huge explosions of magnetic field and plasma from the Sun’s corona,” the Space Weather Prediction Center noted. “When CMEs impact the Earth’s magnetosphere, they are responsible for geomagnetic storms and enhanced aurora.”

Though the term “geomagnetic storm” sounds like it belongs in a sci-fi movie you genuinely have nothing to fear. As the Space Weather Prediction Center reported, geomagnetic storms are measured on a scale of G1 to G5. While a G5 could cause rolling blackouts around the globe, a G1 merely intensifies the Northern Lights, making them visible further south than usual. And a mere G1 storm is all we’ll get tonight.

Tonight’s storm means the Northern Lights, which often come with that classic bright green, yellow and purple hue, could be visible in states including Maine, Michigan, Washington, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights on Monday, the best thing you can do is head out of any city or town and find the darkest area possible. Then, get comfortable, look up at the stars, hope for good weather, and wait.

If you want to increase your chances of seeing this epic display, you could always book a vacation to one of the world’s best Northern Lights viewing locations such as Finland, Iceland, Alaska, and Canada. Make sure to check when the best time of year to visit is, and book a stay for several days so you can increase your odds of getting a glimpse of this natural phenomenon.