It truly is the most wonderful time of the year! In a fabulous surprise for star-gazers and rooftop-gawkers alike, it appears that the northern lights (officially called the aurora borealis) will be visible in certain parts of the United States on Dec. 10. The mere thought of not having to book an international flight for a chance to see the celestial spectacle is enough to keep us staring at the sky all night long, but before we lose sleep over this, there are a few things to keep in mind.
According to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), there's a geomagnetic storm watch on Thursday night, caused by a strong burst of solar energy that hit Earth's atmosphere on Monday, which would make the northern lights visible from certain states. Based on research from Forbes, the beautiful lights could be seen in areas across Washington, northern Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, northern Nebraska, northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, upstate New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. The lower the latitude of your location, the better chance you have to witness the rare sight.
To be transparent, whether you're able to see the northern lights from these states is entirely dependent on the current forecast where you are. The more clouds there are, the harder it is to see. Also, it's more difficult to see from major cities in these states due to light pollution, but it still would be an early holiday present, indeed.