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Solar storm to make Northern Lights visible in multiple US states

The natural phenomenon known as the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, is predominantly observed in the regions of Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia.
Solar storm to make Northern Lights visible in multiple US states
Posted at 8:51 PM, Jul 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-09 20:51:54-04

Thanks to a solar storm, the Northern Lights are anticipated to grace the skies across multiple states in the United States this week.

If weather allows, the lights are expected to be visible in states from Alaska to Maryland between July 12 and 13.

According to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, activity will be highest on July 13, and people will have the incredible opportunity to witness the mesmerizing aurora borealis in:

Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Indiana, Vermont, and Maryland.

And on July 12, the display is forecast to be visible in Alaska, Washington, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, and Massachusetts.

For the optimal viewing experience, experts suggest avoiding any sources of city lights and heading out to darker areas, as you need clear and dark skies to see the aurora.

The prime time to catch this natural phenomenon is between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. local time, the university says.

According to NASA, solar storms happen when the sun sends out big bursts of energy called solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Think of it as the sun having fireworks in space.

As for the Northern Lights, these happen when charged particles, such as electrons and protons, collide with the gases in Earth's upper atmosphere. The collisions then create flashes of light that come together, creating the auroras we see dancing across the skies.

SEE MORE: 'Absolutely unreal': Astronaut witnesses aurora from space

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