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Where to see the Northern Lights tonight

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Just a month after the Northern Lights put on a stunning display across the Americas, the Aurora Borealis will return to Canada and the northern United States on Saturday and Sunday evenings following a second, rare government geomagnetic storm warning. The light show, however, will not be as extensive as last month.

Key data

NOAA issued a warning Friday that a geomagnetic storm could disrupt communications again due to “moderately intense” disturbances in Earth's magnetic field, but the lights could return.

Solar activity has been unusually high in recent months as the 11-year solar cycle approaches its expected peak in July 2025. Over the next year, sunspots are expected to become stronger and likely trigger more geomagnetic storms.

Following a flare-up in solar activity and a NOAA alert last month – the agency's first in nearly 20 years – NOAA issued another warning on Friday, warning that a geomagnetic storm could again disrupt communications due to “moderately intense” disturbances to Earth's magnetic field, but that the lights could return.

The so-called line of sight – the southern point where scientists expect the lights to be visible – is forecast to shift south on Sunday evening, giving residents along the US-Canadian border a better chance of seeing the northern lights, depending on cloud cover.

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Where will the Northern Lights be visible tonight?

The lights, which are typically best seen around the Arctic Circle between September and May, will likely be visible across most of Canada on Saturday night, from British Columbia to northern Ontario, Quebec and Labrador, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

There is also a small chance of seeing the lights Saturday night in the northern U.S., including Alaska, Washington, northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan's Upper Peninsula and northern Maine. The best place to see the lights on Sunday is Alaska, where scientists expect a high probability of visibility for residents.

What is the best way to see the Northern Lights?

The best time to view the lights is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., when geomagnetic activity increases and the Northern Lights are at their strongest.

What you should pay attention to

Clouds. Meteorologists with the National Weather Service predict that overcast skies will cover parts of the Pacific Northwest, northern New England and upstate New York Saturday night, with a 100% chance of cloud cover over Buffalo around 11 p.m., a 72% chance of cloud cover in northern Washington at the same time, and a 77% chance in northern Maine. The chances of seeing the Northern Lights increase throughout the night in the Pacific Northwest, with a 50% chance of cloud cover in northern Washington by 2 a.m. Sunday morning (65% chance at 5 a.m.), while overcast skies in northern New England are expected to thicken throughout the night, reaching a 75% chance in northern Maine by 2 a.m. (84% chance at 5 a.m.).

Important background

The Northern Lights dazzled stargazers across the U.S. and Canada last month. They were the result of a “severe” geomagnetic storm that created an “unusual and potentially historic event,” according to NOAA. For several nights, the lights flashed in shades of purple, green and blue over Northern California, the Great Lakes, New York, New England and as far south as the Carolinas and Alabama. Just days later, NOAA scientists predicted the lights could return later in May and into June, following a solar flare even larger than the one that sparked the first northern lights and threatened to disrupt satellite communications.

Further information

ForbesNorthern lights move through the USA from California to Florida – “potentially historic event” (photos)

Anna Harden

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