Tonight the Northern Lights are making one of their uncommon appearances in the continental United States (we’re jealous, Alaska, okay?) so if you’re in Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Washington, or the tippy-top of Michigan or Maine, you might get a rare chance to see them. Auroras are unpredictable because they depend on the sun’s activity. If there is a high enough “solar wind,” it can disturb the magnetic field around earth, disrupting radio communications and creating a beautiful light show in the sky. Tonight, a minor geomagnetic storm will make for possible aurora viewing between 4-7 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, November 10, and again from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. The later times are likely to be better, since the sky will be darker. And of course, if it’s cloudy, you’ll miss out. The locations where you might see the aurora are the ones “in the vicinity of” the green line on NOAA’s map above. But because auroras are unpredictable, it’s worth keeping an eye out even if you’re a little further south. To find out when there might be another aurora near you, keep an eye on NOAA Space Weather or another forecasting service. My Aurora Forecast, free on iOS and Android, can alert you when the next aurora is coming. Or just plan a trip to Alaska, Canada, Iceland, or another aurora-friendly location of your choice.
You are here: / / How to See the Northern Lights in the US Tonight
Lifehacker is a weblog about life hacks and software which launched on January 31, 2005. The site was originally launched by Gawker Media and is currently owned by Univision Communications