Skygazers in 17 States to See Solar Storm Show

Jul 11, 2023

The Aurora Borealis usually lights up the night sky with green and yellow waves in far northern countries. But a big solar storm will push these colors further south on Thursday night. This means people in parts of the US will be able to see them, too. 

The Aurora occurs when solar winds hit the Earth’s upper atmosphere. These winds come from big eruptions on the sun. When the winds hit tiny parts of atoms in our sky, they start to glow. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says it's like the lights you see in a store or movie theater sign.

On their website, NOAA compares it to how gases react to produce different colored lights in neon signs. 

You can see the Northern Lights best where it's dark and away from city lights. If you want to see them, the best time is between 10:00pm and 3:00am on Thursday night or early Friday morning. 

Here are the states that will be treated to the show:

  • Alaska
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Michigan
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • New Hampshire
  • Washington
  • Vermont
  • Idaho
  • Oregon
  • Wyoming
  • Indiana

The solar storm on Thursday is expected to be a 6 on the Kp scale. This scale shows how strong the storm is from zero to nine. Zero means not active and nine means very active.

Photo by Lightscape courtesy of Unsplash.  

Reflect: What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever witnessed in nature?

The second paragraph of the story develops the reader’s understanding of _______. (Common Core RI.5.5; RI.6.5)
a. the geographical locations where the Aurora Borealis can be seen
b. the specific time frame during which the Aurora Borealis will be visible
c. the scientific explanation behind the cause of the Aurora Borealis
d. the historical significance of the Aurora Borealis
For more formative assessments, visit to start a free trial.

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