I know I'm only in my early 20s, but ever since I saw The Bucket List in 2007, I've been constantly drafting and updating my own list of things to do before I die... and it's already pretty extensive. Skiing the alps and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef are a few top essentials, and since it's "that time of year," I'm pretty desperate to catch the Northern Lights before winter ends. But if you're not trying to sneak away to Iceland anytime soon, here's where to see the Northern Lights in the U.S. — and don't worry, it's not only in Alaska.
Trekking as far as Iceland or Canada tends to be the conventional way to witness the Northern Lights. But according to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), a G1 geomagnetic storm predicted for Wednesday, March 14, and Thursday, March 15 might make the Aurora Borealis a little more visible for those living further south. An SWPC chart shows that Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and even Maine might be able to catch the Northern Lights. TBH, I'm already looking up buses leaving New York City... bye y'all.
Upon hearing "G1 geomagnetic storm," some sort of apocalyptic War of the Worlds scenario immediately comes to mind; it sounds pretty freaky, right? According to SWPC, however, a G1 storm is actually the most minor of solar storms, compared to a dreaded G4 or G5, which can cause widespread voltage control problems, according to Northern Lighthouse Project. The storm predicted to take place on March 14 and March 15 will have minor impact on satellite operations, per SWPC, and I'm really just hoping for some incredible visual effects in northern U.S. states. I need to cross one more thing off my bucket list... and to also make Morgan Freeman proud. You know what I'm saying?
Luckily, the moon is totally coming in clutch for those lucky AF northern U.S. residents, because it's predicted to appear as a mere waning crescent the night of March 14, according to Thrillist. A waning crescent appears to be pretty slight and subtle, and it doesn't emit a ton of light. So ideally, it won't interfere too much for those eagerly waiting to catch some of the Aurora Borealis. In order to track the Northern Lights' visibility, Thrillist recommends the SWPC's 30-minute forecast, as well as Aurorasaurus, which crowdsources information from live onlookers of the Northern Lights. Even though I might not make it out of Brooklyn, I'll be checking for it.
This all might sound like a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, but it actually isn't the first time in recent years that the northern U.S. has been blessed with a taste of the Aurora Borealis. In January 2017, those living in Canada, northern America, Scotland, and even some parts of England were able to catch the ever-elusive Northern Lights due to a slightly more terrifying G2 geomagnetic storm. I wasn't at all aware that it was happening at the time, so I wasn't too worried — and I also didn't get to witness Mother Earth's greatest light show.
If you were even potentially considering proposing to your significant other, there have been some pretty awesome Northern Lights proposals, so definitely take note. Dale Sharpe took his boo to the Arctic Circle — and instead of taking a selfie, he did as Beyonce does, and "put a ring on it." Luckily, the Northern Lights coming to the mainland U.S., so a journey to the Arctic Circle might not even be necessary. Just make sure to escape from those city lights, and obviously get some fiery engagement pics for Instagram.