Northern Lights could extend into Michigan Saturday night

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However, a large solar flare on March 20 triggered a fairly intense geomagnetic storm that is expected to reach our planet this weekend, so some of the colorful lights may be seen in places that normally don't get a good view.

The aurora is likely to extend through the state of MI and Wisconsin into northern IL.

The northern lights appear when the charged particles from the sun strike atoms and molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, exciting those atoms, causing them to light up, according to EarthSky.com.

Most commonly spotted over Iceland, the glowing effect of the Northern Lights is the result of disturbances in Earth's magnetosphere.

When this occurs in the Northern Hemisphere it is known as the aurora borealis, while such an event in the Southern Hemisphere is called the aurora australis.

Northern lights
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The light of the moon could making viewing hard, however, as the moon was full on Wednesday and will rise in the eastern sky at about 10:50 p.m. Saturday night. Sometimes the sky is quiet, then suddenly lights up with color. The farther north you head in IN, the better opportunity you'll have to see it.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, sections of the country stretching from NY to Washington may see an aurora borealis starting on Saturday. Visibility can partly come down to chance-it's easier to see the aurora during a new moon, as the shine of a full moon can render the aurora invisible.

Gear up for possible Northern Lights this weekend, Michiganders.

Predicting exactly when the Northern Lights will dance across the sky is far from a ideal science.

In addition to finding dark skies away from the glare of city lights, observers will also need a little luck from Mother Nature, with clear skies needed.

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