You’ll Be Able to See the Northern Lights Over the US Tonight — Here’s Where to Find Them

Jul 23, 2018

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Checking the Northern Lights off your bucket list is an item usually saved for a trip to Iceland or an adventure in Norway or Finland. But tonight into the early morning hours of tomorrow, travelers in the US and Canada might be able catch a glimpse of the phenomenon.

Thanks to a small geomagnetic storm, the Northern Lights are expected to make an appearance in the United States and parts of Canada. According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, the storm — measured as a G1, or minor storm— will be most active between the hours of 9:00pm on July 23, until about 6:00am on July 24. The geomagnetic strength of the storm is measured by the KP Number on a scale of 1 to 9. Knowing this number, you can see what areas will be able to see the Northern Lights.

Monday night, the KP is expected to be between 4 and 5. This means the Aurora will be most visible to those in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, parts of Wisconsin, Michigan and northern Maine, as well as Canada’s southernmost territories. Check out the chart below to see if you’ll be able to spot the lights from where you are.

Image courtesy of auroroa-service.org.

If you happen to be flying through that area Monday night, 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.

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.

Featured image by SasinParaksa/Getty Images.

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