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Seeing the Northern Lights usually requires an epic adventure to a far away land, but this week space geeks in the United States might be able to catch a glimpse of the Aurora right in their own backyard.
According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, a geomagnetic storm — measured at a G2, or a moderate storm — will make the Northern Lights visible over parts of the US and Canada.
The Aurora is expected to make its appearance between the hours of 12:00am on September 11, until about 6:00am on September 12. The geomagnetic strength of the storm is measured by the “KP Number” on a scale of 1 to 9. This storm is expected to range from a 4 to 6, with the storm reaching its peak around 6:00am on September 11. This number also helps you determine where in the US you can catch a glimpse. Check out the chart below to see if you’ll be able to spot the lights from where you are — don’t forget this storm will reach KP-4 to KP-6.
The Aurora has been visible a couple other times this year, but the storm never reached over a “G1,” or minor storm. The intensity of this week’s storm means visitors have an even better chance at crossing the Northern Lights off their bucket list.
After analyzing the chart above, it looks like the Aurora will be most visible to those in Alaska, Montana, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, northern Maine, potentially parts of northern New York and Canada’s southernmost territories.
If you happen to be flying through that area late on Monday into the early hours of Tuesday, you might want to switch to a window seat because there’s a good chance you can catch the Northern Lights from the sky. A number of transatlantic routes pass through the expected path, as well as flights from East Asia to the northeastern US. Your best chance, however, is on an eastbound overnight transatlantic flight — many pilots will point it out if the aurora comes into sight. If you see it, don’t forget to snap a pic and send it to us. We love to feature reader shots on our Instagram account.
Flyers can check FlightAware.com to see the anticipated route for their flight and choose seats on the correct side of the plane for optimal viewing, though it’s important to note that flight paths can change at any point before or during your flight.
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