March Is the Best Time of Year to See the Northern Lights—Here's Why

Even better: 2024 is expected to bring the strongest auroral activity we've seen in 20 years.

<p>Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon/Getty Images</p>

Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon/Getty Images

If seeing the northern lights is on your bucket list, this month is a great time to turn that dream into reality. According to, March is the best time of year on record for viewing the aurora borealis.

Auroras are ribbons of light that weave across earth's northern or southern polar regions. These natural light shows are caused by magnetic storms that are triggered by solar activity. When these particles enter earth's magnetosphere, they cause substorms, which then slam into our atmosphere and collide with earth's oxygen and nitrogen particles. As these air particles shed the energy they picked up from the collision, each atom starts to glow in a different color.

During March, this phenomenon occurs more than it does in other months, according to a 75-year-long study by retired NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. The study shows that March has more geomagnetically active days than any other month of the year.

Related: Great News for Stargazers: Northern Lights Activity Is Officially on the Rise in the US

In fact, geomagnetic disturbances are almost twice as likely to occur in spring and fall vs. winter and summer. reports that this is due to the fact that cracks tend to form in Earth's magnetosphere during weeks around equinoxes, allowing solar wind to create Northern Lights. This year, the Spring equinox occurs on March 19.

In general, 2024 is expected to be a big year for viewing the Northern Lights due to increased solar activity. Scientists even believe that this year will bring the strongest auroral activity we've seen in 20 years.

While the Northern Lights have historically made an appearance in the most northern parts of the northern hemisphere, like Alaska, Norway, and Sweden, there have been recent sightings in various parts of the country, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Read the original article on Martha Stewart.