If you're interested in seeing the Northern Lights, the forecast is calling for a potentially spectacular show across Minnesota as we head into Mother's Day Weekend.

Often times you're most likely to see the Northern Lights just in far northern Minnesota, but the forecast for this weekend from the experts with NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center are indicating a potentially incredible show might be seen across Minnesota and even places further south.

The SWPC issued their first-ever G4 geomagnetic storm watch since 2005, caused by several "earth-directed coronal mass ejections" that are sending a lot of solar energy toward Earth that could ignite some potentially spectacular Northern Lights.

These bursts come as the sun continues into its most active period during the 11-year solar cycle. This year is expected to offer a lot of solar activity that could lead to some big Northern Lights shows this year before the sun starts to head toward the quieter part of this multi-year cycle after this year.

READ MORE: These are scientifically the best viewing locations for Northern Lights in Minnesota

It is worth noting that while conditions do look quite promising for this weekend, it is not a guarantee. Like weather events on earth, even when conditions are right for certain weather, things don't always materialize as expected. That said, the odds are definitely very favorable for good viewing this weekend.

When will the best Northern Lights viewing be?

Photo by Maud Bocquillod on Unsplash
Photo by Maud Bocquillod on Unsplash

Friday night looks to be the best opportunity, with the SWPC saying they expect the CMEs to get to Earth late Friday and into the early part of Saturday, offering the highest level of energy to generate Northern Lights overnight Friday and into Saturday morning.

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KP Index numbers are forecasted to get to as high as 8 on the KP scale overnight Friday into Saturday morning, which pushes the viewing opportunities as far south as Iowa. Saturday night and into Sunday KP numbers could trend to near 5, which is still promising for viewing across much of Minnesota, particularly in the northern part of the state.

NOAA NWS Space Weather Prediction Center
NOAA NWS Space Weather Prediction Center

Getting away from city lights and looking to the northern horizon are the easiest tips to optimize your viewing.

Will the weather cooperate?

Clouds can quickly dampen viewing opportunities for the Northern Lights. It looks like while there will be some cloud cover possible, much of Minnesota should have clear enough sky conditions both Friday and Saturday night to be able to see the Northern Lights if they do indeed materialize as predicted.

In the meantime, here are some other great photos captured by listeners from a viewing opportunity last year:

Listener-Submitted Photos Of The Incredible Northern Lights Show On September 18, 2023

The forecast called for the potential of a pretty great Northern Lights show across Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin for Monday night, September 18, 2023. The sky didn't disappoint! Here are some beautiful photos submitted by listeners from across the Northland.

Gallery Credit: Nick Cooper

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