Stargazers in Several U.S. States Will Be Able to See the Northern Lights in July

Will I be able to see the Northern Lights tonight? A number of U.S. states will be able to see them.

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author
By

Jul. 10 2023, Updated 11:03 a.m. ET

Northern Lights behind evergreen trees
Source: Getty Images

Seeing the aurora borealis — aka the Northern Lights — is at the top of many people's bucket lists. And even though it's usually required for continental U.S. residents to venture to Canada or Alaska to see the magical Northern Lights, they're gracing us with their presence in about 19 U.S. states in July 2023.

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So you may be wondering: Will I be able to see the northern lights tonight? Keep reading for a look into which states will have views of the northern lights in mid-July 2023.

Northern Lights in Norway
Source: Getty Images

A general view of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights between Hammerfest and Alta on March 29, 2017 in Finnmark, Norway.

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When and where will the Northern Lights be visible tonight, in July 2023?

The Northern Lights will be visible from the night of Wednesday July 12 into the early hours of Thursday, July 13, 2023, according to Syracuse. They'll be visible from locations in 17 U.S. states, according to Earth.com, though other sources have noted that two other states will have a view as well. These 19 states are:

  • Alaska
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa (according to TIME)
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey (according to Asbury Park Press)
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio (according to TIME)
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming.

As you can see, the states from which the Northern Lights will be visible are all in the northern half of the U.S. They will also be visible from Vancouver and other areas in Canada, as per TIME.

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On the night of July 12 the KP-index will be at a Kp-5, which means a geomagnetic storm will occur; then, on July 13, the KP-index will increase and the aurora will strengthen, leading to the beautiful display becoming more vibrant and visible from the U.S., as per the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbank via TIME.

So, when exactly will we be able to catch the lights? Prepare to chug some coffee or take a cold shower, though, because the best time to watch them is late at night — and in the middle of nowhere, with little-to-no light pollution, of course.

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What time will the Northern Lights be visible in July 2023?

Obviously, it needs to be extremely dark to see the Northern Lights . And according to the NOAA, the prime time to catch a view of them is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., on Wednesday night, July 12, going into Thursday, July 13.

“These hours of active aurora expand toward evening and morning as the level of geomagnetic activity increases," the NOAA told The New York Post. "There may be aurora in the evening and morning but it is usually not as active and therefore, not as visually appealing.”

Even if you don't have binoculars, as long as you're in the aforementioned regions, you might be able to see them with the naked eye, as long as it's dark enough, and as long as the skies are clear.

This article, originally published on March 24, 2023, has been updated to reflect the Northern Lights becoming visible to the U.S. in July 2023.

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