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Northern lights update: Latest forecast reduces North Dakota’s chance of seeing Aurora borealis this week

The latest forecast has reduced North Dakota’s odds of getting to view the northern lights this week, but there’s still a chance some North Dakotans could catch the aurora borealis in the sky later this week.

Indiana was originally one of 17 states predicted to possibly see the northern lights but some of those factors have changed, meteorologists said Tuesday.

This is not the first time this year that the natural phenomenon will be visible. In late April, a geomagnetic storm created lights that were shown over 30 U.S. states. The lights were visible in Iowa, North Dakota, Kansas and more.

While North Dakota is not currently listed as a place that has a chance of seeing the lights, the forecast could still change before Thursday. If viewing the northern lights is on your bucket list, you’ll want to be ready. Here’s everything you need to know about catching a glimpse.

Where could the northern lights appear in North Dakota?

A previous forecast from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute stated the northern lights could be visible in the upper half of the state, but the current forecast no longer lists North Dakota as a potential location to see the lights.

What time will the northern lights be visible?

The best chance of viewing the aurora borealis is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time, the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center states. People interested in viewing should get away from city lights and light pollution for a better chance at seeing them.

The higher the geomagnetic activity, the brighter the aurora is. As July 13 gets closer, the NOAA will monitor the activity and release a forecast of its own.

What states may be able to see the northern lights this week?

Here are the other states that may see the northern lights this week:

  • Alaska
  • Montana
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • Michigan
  • Oregon

When was the last major northern light even in the U.S.?

The possibility of seeing the northern lights comes after a geomagnetic storm, the last being late April, when the aurora borealis shone above 30 U.S. statesLights appeared in parts of Iowa, North Dakota, Kansas and more.

What are the northern lights?

The northern lights, also called the aurora borealis, are an astronomical phenomenon in the Northern and Southern hemispheres where colored lights are visible in the night sky.

While they are more frequent closer to the North and South poles, they have been seen closer to the Equator. They can be viewed by looking in the direction of the closest pole (north in the Northern Hemisphere and south in the Southern Hemisphere), according to the Library of Congress.

What causes the northern lights?

The natural phenomenon is usually caused by solar winds coming from the sun and Earth’s magnetic field, according to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.

Source: USA Today