The Northern Lights Could Be Visible In the U.S. This Week

published Mar 24, 2023
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Have you ever wanted to see the Northern Lights? Well, if you live in the United States, you might get the chance to watch them from your very own backyard.

According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Earth’s higher latitudes will most likely witness moderate auroras on Friday, March 24. That’s because our planet will most likely be affected by a moderate, level 2 geomagnetic storm caused by a hole in the sun’s atmosphere. 

But don’t worry! Coronal holes are pretty normal in the sun’s atmosphere and make for stronger solar winds to escape into space, sometimes making extra auroras visible to us Earthlings. As Space.com notes, in the past, similar situations have led to auroral displays as far south as New York and Idaho.

That means that the further north you are, the better chance you’ll have of catching these auroras. Based on the NOAA forecast, they’ll most likely be visible between 6 p.m. at 12 a.m. UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, about four hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Time), particularly in those last three nighttime hours. As with any stargazing endeavor, your best shot for spotting auroras is to head to a dark, low light pollution area with a telescope or even your best pair of binoculars.

But rest assured, makeshift Northern Lights aren’t the only buzzy space phenomenon headed our way. At the end of this month, five planets within our solar system will be visible at once: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Uranus. Although the evening of Tuesday, March 28 is the best time to check out this celestial event — known as a planetary alignment, or “planet parade” — for yourself, you can also catch the alignment several days before and after that date.