You May Be Able To See Northern Lights In The U.S. Tonight

Photo: Fortitude Press/Barcroft Images/Barcroft Media/Getty Images.

Stargazers are in for a treat. Thanks to ominous-sounding solar winds bombarding the Earth right now, the aurora borealis, aka the northern lights, are making an appearance further south than normal.

According to National Geographic, anyone living above the 40-degree latitude line (think of an imaginary path between Philadelphia and Denver) could be able to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature's famous light show.

The solar winds came after they developed a "coronal hole." National Geographic reports that the atmospheric breach is where the solar winds are coming from, blowing hot plasma into the dark depths of space. As it interacts with the Earth's atmosphere, auroras form in the sky thanks to the charged particles that come from the collision.

Thursday night may be the last time that the aurora is visible this far south, but it's still worth a shot for people who live in the viewing area. For the past few days, people from New York to the upper Midwest have reported sightings and have been posting some pretty dramatic photos to social media.

For anyone hoping to get a peek (and snap an envy-inducing Instagram post), NatGeo says the best time to start looking is the mid-evening. From then through late night, there's a possibility of seeing some bold waves of color. Depending on how strong the solar storm gets, peak viewing could come around midnight. (Focus on the northern horizon for the best chances.)

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ranks this storm as a two (out of five), so it's completely safe to be outside looking to the sky, according to the Washington Post. Stronger storms have been a little more problematic, causing the power grid to blow and knock out satellite and radio transmissions. So feel free to have a "Let it Go" moment if the borealis heads your way.

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