Northern lights likely to illuminate Washington skies Thursday

Jul 13, 2023, 9:36 AM | Updated: 9:37 am

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Northern lights may be visible in Western Washington again this week. (Credit: Sigma Sreedharan)

(Credit: Sigma Sreedharan)

Wednesday and Thursday nights offer a great opportunity to see the northern lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, without taking a trip to Alaska or Canada.

Late last week, the sun sent a burst of energy and particles toward Earth. That surge of energy will arrive and peak during the next few days, disturbing our planet’s magnetic field in the upper atmosphere and creating a colorful release of photons of light.

National perspective: Solar storm on Thursday expected to make Northern Lights visible in 17 states

The big question is how far south this display of one of nature’s most spectacular light shows will extend.

Space experts from Alaska to the lower 48 differ in their projections, yet the northern tier states from Maine to Washington have the best chance to see the Aurora in the lower 48 states.

Western Washington’s interior weather will certainly cooperate with clear skies expected both nights.

According to the National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center, the best time to view the northern lights will be between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.

No special equipment is needed to see Auroras. To help see this display, though, go to a higher elevation if possible, find a spot with as little light pollution as possible, and look primarily to the north.

If it all pans out, the next couple of nights will provide a great chance to see this unique variable display of lights.

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Northern lights likely to illuminate Washington skies Thursday