Northern lights expected Thursday night in US. Here's where and when to see the aurora.

The northern lights, aka the aurora borealis, could be visible over portions of the northern U.S. again Thursday night, space weather forecasters said.

The lights might be seen farther south than usual, and might even be visible in U.S. states such as Oregon, Nebraska and Virginia, reported.

The sky show is due to yet another geomagnetic storm that's now hurtling toward the Earth, following one that hit on Wednesday.

According to, the geomagnetic storm is the result of a coronal mass ejection from the sun that took place Tuesday. Energetic particles from the outburst were forecast to arrive during the day on Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center rated the storm as a G3, or "strong" geomagnetic storm.

Northern lights photos: See aurora borealis light up skies across several states

The northern lights in Norway.
The northern lights in Norway.

Where will the northern lights be visible Thursday?

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, the northern lights are most likely to be seen across the northern tier of the U.S. Thursday night.

NOAA reports that the northern lights will likely be visible tonight in portions of these "Lower 48" states: Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

The lights may also be seen in Alaska and parts of Canada.

As of midday Thursday, satellite images showed that skies were clear across much of the northern tier of the U.S., except for some cloudy areas in the northern Rockies and northern Plains.

The colorful aurora forms when particles flowing from the sun get caught up in Earth's magnetic field. The particles interact with molecules of atmospheric gases to cause the famed glowing green and reddish colors of the aurora.

Tips for viewing the northern lights

"Go out at night," NOAA said. "And get away from city lights. The moon will also diminish the apparent brightness of the aurora."

The best aurora is usually within an hour or two of midnight (between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. local time). These hours expand towards evening and morning as the level of geomagnetic activity increases.

There may be aurora in the evening and morning, but it is usually not as active and therefore, not as visually appealing, NOAA said.

Photo gallery: Best spots to see the northern lights

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Northern lights, the aurora borealis, expected in northern US tonight