Having been lucky enough to have seen the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) once before in my life (a trip to Norway with my dad), I can tell you that all the hype surrounding them is absolutely true. It was truly one of life's great experiences.

Well, according to members of the meteorological community who are literally swooning over this opportunity, those of us in northern states are getting a pretty good chance to see the Northern Lights this week without having to pony up airfare to Canada or Scandinavia.

If everything works out the way we'd like it to, all you'll have to do is go outside and look up at the skies.

Getty Images
Getty Images

It's Not Just Northern Illinois That May Get A Look At The Northern Lights, People Living In 17 Different States Could See A Spectacular Sky Show

And, once again, we have a geomagnetic storm impacting the atmosphere mid-week to thank for making it possible for certain spots that never get a look at the Northern Lights to see what all the buzz is about.


Recent forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute suggest a surge in auroral activity on the night of July 13, with the possibility of this captivating light show becoming visible in several parts of Canada and the United States.

The predictions indicate that the northern lights could illuminate the night skies in the northern regions of 17 U.S. states, provided the weather conditions remain favorable.

If It Happens, The Viewing Here In Illinois Should Be Very Cool (Even If You Don't See Whales Swimming Beneath, Like In The Video Above), So Here's When You Should Be Looking Up

If the idea of getting up in the middle of the night holds little to no appeal for you, don't worry, you can start your Northern Lights watch party a little earlier, according to NBCChicago.com:

The peak of that spectacle could arrive on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning. Forecasters say that “aurora activity will be high,” and that displays could be visible overhead from Minneapolis to Milwaukee in the Midwest, and low on the horizon between Lincoln and Indianapolis.

Those seeking to see the Northern Lights are best served finding an area far away from city lights between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., according to the NOAA’s solar weather forecasting service. Residents should also allow up to half-an-hour for their eyes to adjust to the darkness to get the best possible view.

LOOK: The states with the most UFO sightings

For each state, we’ve also included details of famous UFO sightings in that state. Of note is that almost three-quarters of all UFO sighting reports in the United States occur between 4 p.m. and midnight, and tend to peak between 9 and 10 p.m. Food for thought next time you're out scoping for alien life. Keep reading to see which states have had the most UFO sightings.

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