Northern Lights Visible in Multiple States


Universal Images Group

The Northern Lights glimmer in red, purple, and green over a frozen Lake Superior in Michigan.

Paige Reddick, Photojournalist

A natural phenomenon attracts the attention of millions, exposing us to the wonder and mystery of the world around us. The Northern Lights also referred to as aurora borealis, is a well-known example of unworldly phenomena, captivating generations for millennia.


In most of the United States and mostly everywhere else on the globe, the Northern Lights are only seen through photographs and phone screens. Anyone who has been fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights either resides in or has needed to travel to areas close to the Arctic Circle. These areas include Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, and Norway ( Some northern places in the United States have experienced this event, but it is seldom.


Aurora borealis occurs when charged particles from the sun collide with other atoms in our atmosphere. As the electrons in these atoms move into lower energy states, a photon is released as light ( While this light shines commonly in greens, purples, and pinks, almost every color has been illustrated in these lights.


The Northern Lights attract large sums of travelers annually as many are eager to see this event. Its sheer natural beauty is unfathomable, fascinating many. However, the United States has experienced a rare encounter with these lights as they were visible in multiple states from December 10th to around December 12th.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center explained that this phenomenon was caused by a solar flare that created an electromagnetic storm, expanding the areas in which the Northern Lights are visible. Thus, northern states, such as Washington, northern Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, northern Nebraska, northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, upstate New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine were in the latitudes that the lights were able to be seen at ( However, your chances of witnessing the lights depended on your location in your state and the visibility in your area, so only select individuals were able to witness them. 


While not everyone was able to encounter this event, including us Mustangs in California, it is still exciting to learn more about this beautiful phenomenon. Natalie Jamison (11) is planning on witnessing the Northern Lights “at least once in [her] life.” She is “in awe of their beauty,” as many of us Mustangs are.


This strange and rare event of this phenomenon is visible in new locations in the United States serves as a glimmer of excitement in otherwise difficult times. Hopefully, many of us who have not been fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights in-person will be able to at one point in our lives.