The best places to see the Northern Lights in the US this week and what time to look up

This week, folks in the northern United States may very well be able to see the aurora borealis grace the sky

Northern Lights
(Image credit: IRENE STACHON / Contributor)

This week, folks in the United States wishing to gaze at the spectacle created by the appearance of the Northern Lights won’t have to travel far. In fact, a series of recent sun eruptions have created the ideal conditions for the celestial event to be seen from this part of the world.

As a general statement, the United States doesn't qualify as one of the best places to see the Northern Lights (also known as aurora borealis). However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has just put out a G3 geomagnetic storm watch in effect.

That means that, if the experts are correct, solar flares will be visible even further south than usual—so you could potentially catch the Northern Lights if looking up from northern portions of the country. "Aurora may be visible over the northern tier states if the conditions are favorable," reads the official alert.


THE BEST PLACES TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS FROM THE US

According to a map released by the Space Weather Watch, folks in the following states are mostly likely to see the Northern Lights: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. All of Canada also falls within the viewing scope.

Of course, weather conditions and the forecast play a big role in the possibility of seeing the natural wonder. The cloudier the night, the harder it will be to catch the show. As a general statement, you'll want to head to an area that provides clear and expansive views of the skies—stay away from trees, buildings, artificial lights or hills. You want it to be very dark all around you to maximize your chances of seeing the celestial event.

Northern lights in Sweden

(Image credit: Getty Images)

WHAT TIME SHOULD I LOOK UP AT THE SKY TO CATCH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, there's a short window of time this evening when the lights may be visible from the above-mentioned states.

The exact time frame is right after sunset, between 8pm and 2am EST.

Good luck to all celestial gazers!

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers news, entertainment, lifestyle, culture, food, travel and more. Read more of her work at annabenyehuda.com.