Aurora hunters in the United States and Canada are in for a treat as the northern lights will be visible in these countries this week.
Thanks to a geomagnetic storm, there's no need to travel to Iceland to watch the skies burst in vibrant swirling lights. For people who are in the right places in the country, one only has to step outside and look up.
A Natural Light Show
On Tuesday, May 14, the Space Weather Prediction Center announced a G2 geomagnetic storm slated to arrive on Thursday, May 16, which means that people in certain parts of the country will be able to spot the aurora borealis that night.
The moderate storm, which is caused by coronal mass ejection events from the sun, is expected to last from Wednesday to Friday.
In fact, a surprisingly strong aurora already occurred on the morning of Tuesday, May 14. Described by Accuweather as one of the strongest auroras of the year, it was seen lighting up the sky in parts of United States and Canada, to the delight of many surprised locals.
Unedited pictures from last night's Northern Lights party at Lily Pond in Hancock Township, MI around 3am. #AuroraBorealis #NorthernLights #KeweenawPeninsula #Aurora #StormHour #PureMichigan pic.twitter.com/wZAlA44Tdk — Isaac (@ID_Photo_Graphy) May 14, 2019
By pure chance the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) decided to dance in the NW Ohio sky last night, I for some reason had my camera ready. @13abc @RossElletWX @EricElwell_TV @KellyDWeather @spann @StormHour @WeatherNation #AuroraBorealis pic.twitter.com/KeULuy2nm9 — Tyler Hofelich (@BlackSwampStorm) May 14, 2019
Tuesday's light show was a strong one, rated G3 by the SWPC. While the storm has slightly tapered off, skywatchers can still enjoy G2-rated storm activity on Thursday.
How To See The Northern Lights
There are a few windows that present the ideal conditions for viewing the aurora borealis. The first is on Wednesday from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. EST, and the second window is on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
While the aurora borealis won't be visible all over the United States, it's expected to provide dazzling displays in Alaska, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.
It's also visible in most of Canada, although city lights and smog could obscure the natural phenomenon from urban folks. For those who are eager to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis, it's best to find a good spot with dark, clear skies away from the light pollution of urban centers.