Here's how to look for northern lights in Minnesota Friday night (there's another chance!)

Clear conditions tonight make Northern Lights visible

MINNEAPOLIS — After a disappointing Thursday night, some Minnesotans may be able to enjoy the northern lights again late Friday. 

While conditions were supposedly ideal overnight, it seems the solar winds weren't blowing strong enough.

WCCO meteorologist Joseph Dames says the aurora potential shifts Friday night, with the southernmost opportunity lifting north. And unlike Thursday night, many will be dealing with cloud cover.


The aurora is usually visible from just after sunset until just before sunrise. For an optimal viewing experience, move far from the light pollution of higher-populated areas and have a clear view to the north.

RELATED: Astrophysicist explains why northern lights are so hard to predict

"Any street lights locally can wash out kind of a modest display," said Brian Adams, observatory manager at Macalester College.

The very best viewing would be in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, officially recognized as the closest International Dark Sky Sanctuary. 

Is the frequency of northern lights increasing in Minnesota?

The sun runs on an 11-year cycle, and 2025 was predicted to be the cycle's maximum for solar storms. However, 2023 has already exceeded 2025's predicted number of storms. When there's more solar storms, there's more chances for aurora borealis.

What causes northern lights?

According to NASA, auroras are caused by waves of charged particles emitted by the sun, known as solar wind.

When those charged particles come into contact with atoms and molecules in Earth's upper atmosphere, it creates neon-green waves — similar to the collision of electrons and neon gas in neon lighting.

NOTE: The original airdate of the video attached to this article is Nov. 30, 2023. 

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