OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Solar storm on Thursday expected to make Northern Lights visible in 17 states

Jul 8, 2023, 6:00 PM

A solar storm forecast for Thursday is expected to give skygazers in 17 American states a chance to...

FILE - An aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, is seen in the night sky in the early morning hours of Monday, April 24, 2023, near Washtucna, Wash. A solar storm forecast for Thursday, July 13, is expected to give skygazers in more than a dozen American states a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(AP) — A solar storm forecast for Thursday is expected to give skygazers in 17 American states a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights, the colorful sky show that happens when solar wind hits the atmosphere.

Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are most often seen in Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia, but an 11-year solar cycle that’s expected to peak in 2024 is making the lights visible in places farther to the south. Three months ago, the light displays were visible in Arizona, marking the third severe geomagnetic storm since the current solar cycle began in 2019.

The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks has forecast auroral activity on Thursday in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Indiana, Maine and Maryland.

Auroral activity also has been forecast for Canada, including Vancouver.

Light displays are expected to be visible overhead in Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Helena, Montana, and low on the horizon in Salem, Oregon.; Boise, Idaho; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Annapolis, Maryland; and Indianapolis, according to the institute.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center said people wanting to experience an aurora should get away from city lights and that the best viewing times are between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time.

Northern Lights occur when a magnetic solar wind slams into the Earth’s magnetic field and causes atoms in the upper atmosphere to glow. The lights appear suddenly and the intensity varies.

A geomagnetic index known as Kp ranks auroral activity on a scale from zero to nine, with zero being not very active and nine being bright and active. The Geophysical Institute has forecast Kp 6 for Thursday’s storm.

Related: It’s time to start planning for next year’s total solar eclipse

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Outdoors + Recreation

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased ...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

Summit County to acquire largest open space in its history for $55 million

The 910 Cattle Ranch, a sprawling property in the western part of Summit County, will be purchased after grant funding is made available in 2025.

3 days ago

container garden shown...

Mitchell von Puttkammer

How to plant in a container garden

Maria, Taun, and their guest cover practical tips on how to successfully plant a vibrant container garden. Listen to the KSL Greenhouse show.

3 days ago

Life jackets are pictured at the Saratoga Springs Marina at Utah Lake on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022....

Curt Gresseth

Come on in, the water’s fine (but remember to wear a life jacket)

The Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation law enforcement chief shares his knowledge and experience with selecting the right life jacket and using it safely.

3 days ago

The Utah Division of Outdoor Recreation warns that drinking while operating a boat is illegal....

Emma Keddington

Expert wants boaters to know the rules about drinking on the water

Utah laws allow passengers to have open containers of alcohol on a boat. However, drinking and driving a boat is illegal.

4 days ago

Image of the camp formerly known as Camp Steiner, in Utah's high Uinta mountains. The camp, almost ...

Britt Johnson

A new name and a new beginning for Camp Steiner

For nearly 100 years, Camp Steiner has been used almost exclusively by scouting organizations. But that's about to change.

4 days ago

A quagga dip tank at Lake Powell, as a boat enters the tank to be decontaminated from quagga mussel...

Mike Anderson, KSLTV.com

DWR discovers more efficient way to decontaminate boats from quagga mussels

The solution the DWR developed is a dip tank that decontaminates the boats and kills quagga mussels. Boaters can run it through the system for only minutes before heading back out.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

Solar storm on Thursday expected to make Northern Lights visible in 17 states