Keep your eyes to the skies Thursday night as the aurora borealis will dance across the horizon.
The colorful cosmic display can be seen as far south as Cheyenne, Wyoming, and will be visible throughout the Big Horn Basin area.
According to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute, the northern lights are expected to be visible in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Indiana, Vermont, Maine, and Maryland.
More northern locations, like Helena, Montana, will be able to view the aurora borealis directly overhead, while people in the Cowboy State will be able to view the beautiful light show lower on the horizon line.
The best time to view the northern lights will be from 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center.
The natural phenomenon occurs when atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere clash with a solar flare caused from the sun, which then causes the atoms to glow in the upper atmosphere.
Auroras are most commonly seen in Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia, and are not often seen as far south as Wyoming. Earlier this year however, the northern lights were visible in parts of the Big Horn Basin and were seen as far south as New Mexico and Arizona thanks to a rare solar cycle.
The solar storm that is coming Thursday is part of an 11-year solar cycle that began in 2019. According to the NOAA, this cosmic phenomenon is expected to peak in 2024.
Finding a spot outside of city limits is recommended for the best chance of viewing the aurora borealis, as the light pollution is less likely to dampen the storm. For more tips on viewing the aurora borealis, visit the NOAA website.
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