If you don’t have plans this Friday, it will be a perfect night for stargazing across the northern half of the country.
The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are rarely visible in the United States. But conditions are perfect tonight to see them light up the night sky.
These shining lights are caused by solar dust dancing across the earth’s atmosphere, and a space storm predicted for Friday, November 9 means the lights will be visible much further south than they usually are.
The green line in the Space Weather Prediction Center’s map shows where the aurora will be visible on November 9th and 10.
States along that line, including Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin should get a good view of the lights tonight.
And, of course, Canada and Alaska will get an even brighter lights show.
The storm warning says the aurora will be most visible between 4-7 p.m. (EST) and 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Of course, you'll need to wait until it gets dark to really notice the lights, so the second period will offer the best view.
It’s also important to avoid light pollution for a good view of the lights, so a short drive to somewhere dark outside of your city is probably needed, even if you live way up north.
The lights are also seen along the northern horizon, so the spot you pick out should have a good view to the north without bright buildings or trees in the way.
Chances to see the lights this far south are ever more rare in the winter, so take advantage of this one if you can.
But if you don't feel like braving the cold to see the lights tonight, you can enjoy the show from home by watching these live feeds of the aurora: