U.S. States Where Northern Lights May be Seen This Weekend After Solar Flare

A trick of nature could give a treat for Americans looking upwards this Halloween with the northern lights set to illuminate the skies above many U.S. states.

A large solar flare on Thursday has meant that the dazzling celestial show, also known as the aurora borealis and usually the preserve of the global north, may be seen further south in the coming days.

The flare in question was described as "X-class" and was even strong enough to cause a high-frequency radio blackout across parts of South America, The Washington Post reported.

This pulse of energy carries what is known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) in tow. Akin to a cluster of solar plasma, the CME is unusually strong this solar cycle and could stir up a visual maelstrom when it is predicted to hit Earth on Saturday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center issued for this weekend a G3 or "strong" geomagnetic storm watch.

Aurora Borealis
The Aurora Borealis appears in the sky on January 8, 2017 near Ester Dome mountain about 10 miles west of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Northern Lights show may be seen much further south this Halloween weekend. Lance King/Getty

This could pimp up the aurora borealis and make it visible in American cities whose residents would normally need to take a plane to witness the shimmering phenomenon.

Much depends on the weather, but the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute Aurora Forecast predicted the northern lights may be seen from the far Northeast to the upper Midwest, and over the state of Washington.

It said that it may be visible between Portland, Oregon to New York City. It could also be seen on the horizon as far south as Carson City, Nevada, Oklahoma City and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Much depends on to what extent clouds veil the color show and the Post reported that people in northern states, stretching from Washington to Michigan to Ohio are likely to glimpse a glow.

Clearer skies are also expected in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and over Wisconsin, as well as in the Pacific Northwest.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said expected conditions in Seattle on Saturday night were optimal for a good view while much of Montana, too, was forecast to be clear.

In Europe, the Northern Lights may be seen in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and as far south as Scotland, Dublin, Ireland and Hamburg in Germany.

Caused by charged particles from the sun interacting with the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere, the northern lights were visible in Minnesota, Alaska and Washington earlier this month.

Sky gazers most likely to get a good view will be those who are not battling light pollution, and can find a patch of land with an unobstructed view over the northern horizon.