Northern Lights

Northern Lights: Your Best Chance to See the Aurora in New England

With a geomagnetic storm taking place Thursday night, many in New England are wondering if they might be able to see the northern lights

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A G2 geomagnetic storm is taking place Thursday night, and many are hoping for a chance to see the northern lights.

If you're wondering whether you'll be able to see the aurora, let's go over some important factors: your geographic location and the geomagnetic activity.

Geomagnetic activity represents the degree of disturbance of the earth's magnetic field at the time of the event. We rely on an index known as Kp — this number will range from zero to nine and is used to refer to the geomagnetic activity in a three-hour period.

In order to have a better chance for sight, you'll want to have a Kp of five or greater and be located closer to the poles.

While the northern lights are restricted at higher latitudes, an aurora may be observed up to 600 miles away. Thursday night brings a KP as high as six from 8 through 11 p.m. The KP drops to five after 11 p.m., but if cloud coverage allows, you might grasp a bit of it.

And that's what it finally comes down to: your cloud coverage. Thursday night's sky is favoring lingering clouds north, with isolated showers marching north in the overnight hours. As they weaken through the night, they'll be leaving by Friday morning.

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So you might still have a chance if you leave your camera on looking out to the northern horizon.

If you do grab any good pictures or video, feel free to share them with us — we'd love to show them off on NECN and NBC10 Boston!

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