This article originally appeared in Conde Nast Traveler.
Iceland and Norway may dazzle with northern-lights displays, but you don’t have to go abroad to enjoy a night beneath auroras. These kaleidoscopic swirls dance above the U.S.’s northernmost states—and we’re not just talking about northern-lights hunting in Alaska.
If and when the conditions are right, you can catch auroras in most northern-border states such as Maine or Montana. And catching the lights here isn’t merely a pipe dream: In early October 2021, northern lights painted the skies from New Hampshire to Glacier National Park. One month before that, aurora hunters caught them in North Dakota. And they danced as low as Muskegon, Michigan, in the spring.
Aurora experts say there’s more where that came from. The sun sparks northern lights during solar storms, when it emits charged particles that collide with Earth’s atmosphere, creating the glowing green, purple, and even red displays that top travelers’ bucket lists. In December 2019, the sun entered a new cycle of solar activity—and this transition bodes well for those eager to spot auroras.