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Northern lights set to be visible all over the US tonight

Northern lights set to be visible all over the US tonight

The northern lights could be seen as far south as Alabama.

Always wanted to see the northern lights and never took the plunge to visit Alaska or Canada? Well, you may just be in luck this evening.

The aurora borealis is a truly amazing spectacle, though you typically have to be in certain parts of the world to enjoy its beauty.

Found in the northern hemisphere, the lights will be potentially visible on Monday night (March 25) in the US as far south as the midwest.

As the northern lights are most commonly seen in the Artic Circle, those in the US may get a unique opportunity to see something special this evening.

The potential of a northern lights appearance in the states comes as the entire globe will be impacted by space weather on Monday on the same night as a penumbral lunar eclipse.

The northern lights could seen across the US tonight.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

The storms are caused by coronal mass ejections, which is when clouds of plasma erupt from the Sun’s outer atmosphere.

Particles stream towards Earth following that, which then creates the spectacular display we see as it strikes Earth's magnetic field.

The massive geomagnetic storm is already taking place in the US, as strong eruptions from the Sun could disrupt US radio communications.

On top of that, folks as far south as Alabama and Northern California could be seeing the northern lights very soon.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center has since issued an alert for the electromagnetic storm after satellites picked up a solar flare on Sunday (24 March).

The storm is rated as a minor G2 storm on NOAA’s five-point scale, having been downgraded from G4.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement: "While there have been no reported disruptions to the electrical grid or radio communication, State personnel are actively monitoring and coordinating with industry stakeholders and the federal government."

The aurora borealis seen in Indiana on Sunday.
Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Image

The solar activity comes as the 11-year solar cycle looks set to be reaching its peak later this year.

Macquarie University astronomer Dr Stuart Ryder explained to the Guardian: “It goes from a relatively benign, calm state with very few sunspots on the surface to a very active phase about five or six years later, with a maximum number of sun spots.

“It’s much more likely to release huge flares of energy, enormous quantities of charged particles radiating away from the sun … their characteristic colours are green or red but people report blues, yellows, even purples.

“The more powerful the flare and the more it puts out, the greater the chance that people who live more towards the equator might get to see them.”

The best time to view the northern lights tonight is between 10pm and 2am, according to the NOAA.

Featured Image Credit: Irene Stachon/Lehtikuva/AFP/Getty Images/Uriel Sinai/Getty images

Topics: Science, Space, Weather, Nature, US News