The Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis. The Vikings thought it was a way to the gods, but we now know exactly what these beautiful lights really are.

If you are lucky, the Northern Lights might come close to a sky this weekend.

At least it could be if you live in Canada, parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Michigan. Maine, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, according to the Aurora forecast of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for geophysical institutes.

In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center indicates that the Aurora Borealis – or Northern Lights – could be seen as far as Iowa and Colorado.

If all goes well, it could also be seen in Chicago and Detroit on the horizon.

This relatively rare event can be traced until March 20, when there is a strong outbreak Solar energy sent an unusually large stream of electrically charged particles towards Earth.

Typically, such particles simply collide with gas particles in the Earth's atmosphere and show their color displays. similar to the glow of a neon light. Oxygen molecules give off a familiar, ghostly green aurora, while nitrogen produces blue or red.

Although no cause for concern for personal safety, or even for the sensitive North American power grids, triggering this powerful burst of energy can trigger a geomagnetic storm and disrupt the delicate balance around the poles.

The storm in turn pushes the swirling aurora off course, driving it south for three days and conjuring up its magical show.

Best view, look to the east, Saturday night before midnight, when the Aurora ascends, or west to midnight. Warning: This only works when the sky is clear and dark.

Another warning: Do not expect that Aurora Borealis will show a dazzling show in a southerly direction, possibly appearing on the horizon in places like Detroit and Washington Chicago.

Keep up to date with the 30-minute Aurora Aurora Forecast and the UAF Aurora Forecasting Web sites.

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