Don't forget to look up tonight!

Auroras are amazing sites because they are, of course, impossible. When Amanda and I got married a year or so ago in northern Minnesota, there was an amazing Aurora, surpassing what anyone at the wedding had ever seen in the state. Big colored curtains of light.

Tonight, and over the weekend, the northern lights will be majorly large and extensive, and visible from very far away. The the graph above (from here) gives you an indication of where you might see them. Anywhere north of the solid green line has a chance, depending on local conditions.

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Best viewing tonight will be early in the night: roughly 8-9 PM at my location, may be slightly different elsewhere. You want to wait long enough for skies to get dark, but not so long that the (more than half illuminated) moon has risen. Get away from city lights, and if you are south of the green shaded area, look for a spot with a clear view to the north. Tonight is my best shot, since we'll be clouded over here tomorrow night.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 12 Sep 2014 #permalink

Unfortunately the skies here are currently overcast and the forecast is for them to continue that way through tomorrow. To those of you with clear skies: best of luck.

When this happened in 2003 {albiet, a much larger storm}, I saw them in Alabama. From up on a ridge a little and even looking straight across the lights of a middling-sized city, The smears of red suddenly changing to green and back as it raced across the sky was memorable.

On that occasion, I could watch the compass needle slowly oscillate over a period of 15 minutes or so.

The earlier impact this morning was 670 km/s... tonight's looks to rise to around 800 or so.