If you live in the United States you don’t often get the opportunity to see the phenomenon known as the Aurora Borealis, commonly referred to as the “northern lights.” However, this Labor Day weekend will be different, as NOAA is reporting that several northern states will get a chance to enjoy the rare evening light show.
More commonly seen in Canada and Alaska, the northern lights are the result of solar wind interacting with Earth’s atmosphere, producing brilliant bands of light in the sky. The colors can vary but are often bright green and blue.
According to the interactive Aurora tracker updated by the University of Alaska, the northern lights will be particularly bold on September 1st, and that’s when residents of several northern U.S. states will have the best chance at seeing them.
Stretching down into Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana, the lights will be more visible farther north you are, but even residents as far south as Indianapolis will have an opportunity to see the lights on the horizon, weather permitting.
The nights of August 31st and September 2nd will also offer a better-than-average chance at seeing the lights from northern states, but September 1st is definitely the premiere viewing opportunity.
The lights are best viewed when the sky is at its absolutely darkest, so if you want the best chance to see them be sure to gaze skyward around midnight. Of course, if the skies are cloudy — or you’re in the heart of a major city where light pollution is high — you may still have a tough time spotting them.