Skywatchers across a number of U.S. states that border Canada may get a glimpse of the northern lights thanks to a geomagnetic storm late Monday and early Tuesday.
The northern lights, or aurora borealis, occur when solar wind hits Earth’s magnetic field. “When the charged particles from the sun strike atoms and molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, they excite those atoms, causing them to light up,” explains EarthSky.
“High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on July 24th when the solar wind arrives,” explains Spaceweather.com. “G1-class storms can produce Northern Lights as far south as US states ranging from Maine to Washington.”
Fox 6 in Milwaukee reports that the phenomenon will be visible in northern Wisconsin with the best viewing times between sunset and 1 a.m. CDT. “You will likely have to drive past Green Bay to see anything,” it tweeted Monday.
Q13 Fox also reports that the aurora borealis will be visible in parts of Washington State, noting that the phenomenon occurred around the same time last year.
However, the geomagnetic storm is just a minor one, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.