Northern lights could be visible in Montana this week. Here's how to see them.

If seeing the northern lights is on your bucket list, you might just be in luck. The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, could appear in parts of Montana on Wednesday.

The latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center shows parts of Montana possibly in line to view the northern lights, if they appear.

It has not yet been determined specifically when the lights could show up in Montana, but the forecast lists part of the state in range of seeing the aurora borealis.

Here's what you need to know to catch the northern lights.

Where could the northern lights appear in Montana?

The forecast from the Space Weather Prediction Center shows the northern lights view line going through parts of Montana as of Wednesday.

If the lights do appear, people in Montana near the predicted view line could get a glimpse of the aurora borealis on the northern horizon.

What time will the northern lights be visible?

The best chance of viewing the aurora borealis is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. local time, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center says. People interested in seeing them should get away from city lights.

The higher the geomagnetic activity, the brighter the aurora.

This week's northern lights display: Here's where you might view them in each state.

Where else can the northern lights be seen?

Here are the other states that may see the northern lights this week:

  • Idaho

  • North Dakota

  • Alaska

  • Wisconsin

  • Minnesota

  • Michigan

  • Washington

When was the last major northern light event in the U.S.?

A geomagnetic storm created lights that were visible in 30 U.S. states in late April. The aurora could be seen in parts of Iowa, North Dakota and Kansas.

More on solar events in the east: What to know about the 2024 solar eclipse in VT: It's expected to bring 250,000 tourists

What are the northern lights?

The aurora borealis is a phenomenon that creates glowing, colorful lights in the sky that can be seen in certain parts of the world, especially around the magnetic poles in the northern and southern hemispheres.

What causes the northern lights?

The natural phenomenon is usually caused by solar winds coming from the sun and Earth's magnetic field, according to the NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.

"Aurora is the name given to the glow or light produced when electrons from space flow down Earth’s magnetic field and collide with atoms and molecules of the upper atmosphere in a ring or oval centered on the magnetic pole of Earth," the website says. "The collisions produce light much like how electrons flowing through gas in a neon light collide with neon and other gases to produce different colored light bulbs."

Kate Perez covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. You can reach her at or on Twitter @katecperez_.

This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: Northern lights could be visible in Montana this week. How to see them.