People in the United States may get a chance to see the aurora borealis Wednesday night – without having to book a flight to Alaska.
The Space Weather Forecast Center issued a G1 geomagnetic storm alert for the night of February 27, meaning that the northern lights will be visible a little further south than normal. Those in Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine should be able to see the color waves in the sky between sunset and 10 o'clock.
Whether or not you can see the northern lights depends on where you are. You will need clear sky with a good view of the northern horizon, which means there are no trees, buildings or hills on your way. You will also have to endure the cold long enough for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.
If you are lucky you will see waves of color going north. According to the Northern Lights Center, aurora borealis forms when gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere collide with electrically charged particles of the sun. The Earth's magnetic field generally deflects these particles, but as the field is weaker around the poles, some particles slip, creating the northern (or southern) lights. The color of light depends on the types of gases, with green and pink being the most common.
Iceland is known to have some particularly good shows – a green, dragon-shaped spiral was captured during an aurora borealis earlier this month. Do not expect the US view to be so vivid, but you may notice some color.
If not, you may be able to detect Mercury at a minimum. The planet will be the closest to Earth for the year from Wednesday evening just after sunset. According Thrillist, should be visible to the naked eye.