The Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, is a stunning display of color that has found its way on many people’s bucket lists, and those of us who haven’t had the chance to cross it off yet may be in luck–a solar storm forecast for tonight, Thursday, July 13, is expected to make the Northern Lights visible in 17 states, and New York is one of them!
The forecast comes from The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, who predict that auroral activity will be high tonight, Thursday, July 13, due to a solar storm, with lights visible in parts of the U.S. and Canada.
The Northern Lights are most often seen in Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia when magnetic solar winds crash into the Earth’s atmosphere, causing atoms to glow.
However, this solar storm is switching things up a bit. Though expected to peak in 2024, the 11-year solar cycle is making the lights visible in places farther south than usual.
Here’s how to see the dazzling Northern Lights display in NYC:
When will the Northern Lights be visible?
New Yorkers will have a chance to see the Northern Lights tonight, Thursday July 13.
According to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center, the best viewing times are between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time.
Where can I see the Northern Lights in NYC?
Due to NYC’s light pollution you’ll have to stake out the perfect spot to catch the lights.
Those in darker, more rural parts of New York have more of a chance of catching the spectacle.
What are the chances of seeing the Northern Lights in NYC?
The Geophysical Institute has forecast a ranking of Kp 6 on the geomagnetic index–which ranks auroral activity–for Thursday’s storm. The scale ranges from zero to nine, with nine being the most active.
That means, as long as you’ve secured yourself a dark viewing spot, you have a pretty good chance to see the gorgeous display!
Do I need to a telescope to see the Northern Lights in NYC?
One of the (many) great things about the Northern Lights is that no special equipment is needed to see them! Simply looking up to the sky with the naked eye is enough.
Aurora forecasts can be tracked on NOAA’s website. Happy hunting!