Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

Vibrant Northern Lights Display Expected In 11 States Tonight! Here’s Why They’ve Been So Active

Northern Lights

There is a high chance that 11 states will see a particularly vibrant display of the Northern Lights tonight (July 3).

The NOAA is predicting that Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin will see an Aurora with a KP index of four tonight. The northernmost part of New York is also in the view line.

According to NOAA, A KP four rating means that “the aurora will move further from the poles” and “become brighter.” There will also “be more auroral activity,” and it “can be quite pleasing to look at.”

The Northern Lights are typically best viewed between 10 pm and 2 am, but smartphone apps like My Aurora Forecast will help you hone in on the best times in your area.

Why Have The Northern Lights Been So Active In 2024?

Unless you live in extreme northern states or countries, the Northern Lights are usually a rare sight. This year, they have been common. And it’s all because of the sun’s normal 11-year cycle.

As SDSU explains, the sun’s current cycle began in 2019. Geomagnetic storms, which cause the Northern Lights, will increase in frequency and intensity as the sun approaches solar maximum in 2025.

When it reaches its peak around July 2025, the auroras will be most common and brilliant. Then, the storms will become less frequent as the cycle nears solar minimum.

NASA shared that the July peak is only a prediction, however. It could actually happen anytime between late 2024 and early 2026.

Hopefully, we’ll have a more exact Northern Lights forecast in the near future, though. Last week, NOAA and NASA sent a new satellite into space that should help keep a better eye on the solar activity.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.