Sustainability Environment

Northern lights could be seen in some states Wednesday night

People living in the northern U.S. states might be able to see the rare occurrence tonight. 

Story at a glance


  • People living in the northern part of the United States and Canada might be able to see the aurora borealis on Wednesday night. 

  • Typically, the northern lights are not seen so far south, but they will be visible in the night sky after a number of recent explosions on the sun’s surface sent clouds of particles into space. 

  • Those clouds are expected to hit the Earth’s magnetic field late Wednesday, resulting in the dazzling light display. 

Some northern states could get a chance to see the aurora borealis Wednesday night.  

Typically, the northern lights are not visible in any of the lower 48 states, but recent explosions on the surface of the sun have sent clouds of large particles into space, some of which are expected to hit the Earth’s magnetic field later Wednesday evening and Thursday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center.  

That collision could result in dazzling displays of the aurora borealis in skies as far south as northern Illinois and Nebraska.  


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But people in states where the northern lights might be visible may have a hard time seeing the spectacle due to cloudy skies or light pollution.  

Residents of Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Minneapolis and those in the surrounding suburbs will need to travel to darker areas of their home states to see the phenomenon, according to AccuWeather.  

The moon can also be a source of light pollution and is expected to shine brightly during the latter half of Wednesday night. For those interested in getting a glimpse of the aurora, experts suggest not looking at the moon to increase the odds of seeing the rare celestial display.  

All of the states that have areas where the northern lights could potentially be visible tonight include Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.  

People in very northern parts of Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, California, Nevada, Utah and New Jersey might be able to see the aurora, as well, according to AccuWeather. 

 


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