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Northern lights viewing dates and locations

Jessica Xia
Go to solution Solved by Vancanneyt Sander,

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The first thing you need to know is which magnetic latitude you're on, that will determine which Kp corresponds to your location. The Kp index is a global indicator of geomagnetic activity and thus a good factor to roughly say when you could be seeing Aurora near your location. The SWPC has a Kp map to help you figure that out: Aurora_Kp_MapNorthAm.png

So, next up is simple: what Kp index is forecasted? You'll find that on our frontpage. Then you know if it's good to be up at night, further detail can be found in the "Aurora Activity" menu where you click on "Aurora forecast". That page gives you the predicted Kp forecast for each 3h period of a day. When there's an opportunity in which the predicted Kp corresponds to the one you need to see aurora at your location, then you'll need to follow the live activity. The easiest way is to see what the latest measured Kp reading is, but the official 'live' Kp readings are those of the past three hours, unless otherwise stated that a threshold was reached within current period. The most precise way if knowing when to go outside is with the use of a magnetometer station in the US, as I am from Europe I can't tell you which to use best. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

We do provide a long term forecast from the NOAA SWPC on this website but its accuracy is shaky at best as space weather is still hard to predict accurately. Coronal hole solar wind streams can sort of be predicted weeks in advance but CMEs can not. They can only be predicted 24 hours to 4 days in advance depending on the CME its speed. You will also find the maximum predicted Kp for today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow on our front page. Hard to miss.

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