The Northern Lights are usually one of those things that you have to travel far north to see. Thanks to an unusual geomagnetic storm, however, people as far south as Colorado might catch a glimpse of the aurora from March 31 into April 1 and possibly April 2, as well (and no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke).
The probability of seeing the aurora borealis is ranked on the Kp Index from zero to nine by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, with zero being no chance and nine being a high chance. The Kp Index hit a seven on the morning of March 31 and people in Colorado saw the lights.
The Space Weather Prediction Center has a different scale that goes from one to five. The lights hit a one the last go around, though could get as high as a three into Saturday morning, according to the Washington Post.
Below are the states where you have the highest probability of seeing the Northern Lights.
States where you can see the Northern Lights on March 31 and April 1 and 2
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
States where you might see the Northern Lights on March 31 and April 1 and 2
These states are just estimates and depend on the final strength.
The colors come from protons and electrons that leave the sun and hit the Earth’s magnetic field. They get the gasses naturally found in the atmosphere going — oxygen makes green and red, while nitrogen makes blue and purple.
Unfortunately for anyone hoping for a guarantee, unpredictable is the key word when it comes to the Northern Lights. The Northern Light Aurora Forecast can help you gauge the timing, and being in a spot with low light pollution always helps.
Keep your eyes peeled for more opportunities over the next couple of years. The peak of our sun’s active solar cycle period will hit about 2025.
For a glimpse of what’s to come, here’s what people spotted on the morning of March 31.
I literally can’t believe this happened tonight. 8 meteorology students, 3 mechanical engineering students, 2 journalists, and 1 meteorologist all watching the northern lights together. This went way better than imagined. So, so happy. #sdwx #Aurora @sdsmt #NorthernLights pic.twitter.com/2SKkEhyqKu
— Lexy Elizalde (@JadeoradeWx) March 31, 2022
— Jenny Hagan LostInSk (@LostInSk) March 31, 2022
— MaryBeth Kiczenski (@MKiczenski) March 31, 2022