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What Time to See Northern Lights Tonight? Solar Storm Sparks Rare Aurora Borealis Forecast Across Dozens of States

In a celestial spectacle unseen for nearly two decades, a powerful solar storm is set to unleash a breathtaking display of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, tonight across a wide swath of the United States. Forecasters are abuzz with anticipation as rare geomagnetic activity promises to illuminate the night sky with vivid hues of green and pink, captivating onlookers from coast to coast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) issued a Severe (G4) Geomagnetic Storm Watch, a rare event that hasn’t occurred since 2005, igniting excitement among skywatchers and scientists alike. This heightened activity, fueled by a series of potent solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), is primed to deliver a dazzling celestial spectacle reminiscent of auroral displays seen only in the most northern reaches of the globe.

As Earth braces for the impact of these solar phenomena, experts predict that tonight’s aurora borealis could be visible across a staggering number of states, spanning from northern Montana to Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and potentially as far south as Alabama and Northern California. This expansive forecast offers an unprecedented opportunity for millions of Americans to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the Northern Lights from their own backyards.

“The auroras are a natural light display in Earth’s sky that are famously best seen in high-latitude regions,” explains Shawn Dahl, a space weather forecaster at SWPC. “But tonight, thanks to the exceptional intensity of this solar storm, we have the chance to witness these captivating phenomena in regions where they are rarely seen.”

The timing of tonight’s celestial spectacle remains uncertain, but experts suggest that the best chances for viewing the Northern Lights will be within an hour or two of midnight, local time. However, as geomagnetic activity intensifies, the window for optimal viewing may extend into the evening and early morning hours.

For those eager to catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis, experts advise seeking out dark, rural areas away from city lights and obstructions. Clear skies and minimal light pollution will enhance the visibility of this extraordinary event, offering sky gazers an unobstructed view of nature’s most mesmerizing light show.

In addition to traditional methods of observation, such as scanning the northern horizon for shimmering lights, experts suggest leveraging modern technology to enhance the viewing experience. Smartphones equipped with advanced camera sensors can capture images of the aurora that may not be visible to the naked eye, providing a unique opportunity to document and share this celestial spectacle with friends and family.

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