people in the snow with tents and northern lights

Hot tip: go North…

Travelers spend hundreds, even thousands each year in an attempts to catch a glimpse of the natural phenomenon known as Aurora Borealis, commonly referred to as the “Northern Lights”. For your next pub quiz, there’s also a Southern Lights, more formally known as “Aurora Australis”. Sightings of this captivating light show are hardly ever seen in Southern Canada and even more limited in the United States, but thanks to a geomagnetic storm, rare glimpses will be possible this weekend from quite a few U.S. states.

people in the snow with tents and northern lightsWhen

Tonight, and tomorrow night. Northern Lights are caused by charge particles getting revved up, via geomagnetic storms and giving off an amazing green hue. Beginning tonight, a Grade 1 storm will make its way to North America, bringing rare opportunity to peep the Northern Lights from up to 11 U.S. states and parts of southern Canada. And no, we have no clue what Grade 1 actually means.


Before you actually jump on a plane know this: the more light around you, the less you see Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are incredible to behold, but can be slightly underwhelming in most lighting conditions. Go as far north as possible and away from civilization and artificial light as possible. In short, it often looks cooler on a good camera than to your eyes. With that warning in place, you’ll potentially stand to see the Aurora tonight and tomorrow from: Alaska, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Northern New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Washington. Not the DC version.

Best Bets

Aurora’s are extremely rare in the United States, so it could be well worth a road trip with a great DSLR camera and some patience to catch a glimpse! If you’re dying to see the amazing dancing light display for yourself and can’t drive into the middle of nowhere tonight or tomorrow – areas such as Tromsø, Norway and Lapland, Finland tend to offer the least human light pollution and the most powerful lighting displays, as well as really neat cultural surroundings. Just bring a coat, neither are known for being too warm this time of year…

Aurora Borealis - Northern LightsNorthern Lights

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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