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The Northern Lights May Be Visible Over the U.S. Tonight

Northern lights tonight
Shutterstock.com

Arriving with summer grilling season is the best time of the year for stargazing. In parts of the US, it will be an excellent weekend to be looking up. Much of the northern United States may have the opportunity to gawk at the northern lights

The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has issued a G1 geomagnetic storm watch, considered a minor storm, due to a gust of solar wind that will increase your chance of seeing the multi-colored display through much the northern US and southern Canada the night of June 1 heading into the morning of June 2. According to the SWPC, the aurora will be at its strongest from around sunset through 2am EST. 

Northern Lights Tonight
SWPC

The SWPC image above highlights the region where you're most likely to see the aurora. Residents of the northern portions of Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin should be able to catch the aurora if the skies are clear. The same goes for anyone in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and most of Ontario and Quebec. 

As a representative from the SWPC previously told Thrillist, there's no guarantee you'll see the Lights if you're in the above area. "You need very clear skies, a good view of the northern horizon (no trees, buildings, or hills), and it needs to be dark," they noted via email. You'll want to get as far from city lights as you can to get the best show, particularly with a moon that's just past full in the sky.

Nonetheless, a G1 geomagnetic storm can create a beautiful display, like the one below. It was seen over Mackinac Bridge in Michigan during a G1 storm earlier this year.

It's a great opportunity to catch the northern lights, which could appear with less frequency over the coming years due to the sun at or close to the solar minimum.

If this weekend won't work for you but you're interested in tracking down your next chance, it's worth bookmarking the SWPC's 30-minute Aurora Forecast or Aurorasaurus, a crowdsourced Aurora tracking app. 

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. Follow him @dlukenelson.
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