There Are a Lot of Crazy Things Happening in the Sky Tonight — Here’s How to See Them

Jun 27, 2018

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Space travel may still be years away, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the wonders the universe has to offer. For those who are fascinated by celestial events, you should definitely venture outside tonight because there will be quite a show.

Not only will the Northern Lights be visible from parts of the US, but there will also be a rare view of Saturn’s rings and a striking Strawberry Moon. Below we’ve given you the best way to see each, plus which direction to look if you happen to be on a flight this evening. And, if that’s not enough extraterrestrial excitement for you, you can always buy a ticket to space with Jeff Bezos.

The Northern Lights:

Travelers in the Northern United States and Canada might be able to check “See The Northern Lights,” off their bucket list tonight. An uptick in activity of the Aurora Borealis is expected from June 27 into June 28 due to a small geomagnetic storm.

According to the Aurora Service, the geomagnetic strength is measured by the KP Number on a scale of 1 to 9 — using this number you can see what level is needed to see the Northern Lights in your area. (Tonight the KP is expected to be between 3 and 5.)

Photo courtesy of:
Photo courtesy of:

Those in Canada’s western territories like British Columbia, Alberta and potentially a bit of Saskatchewan and Manitoba have a good chance of seeing the Aurora, as well as those in northern Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin and, of course, Alaska.

Flying tonight? After taking a look at the chart above, we noticed a number of transatlantic routes may offer some of the best views of the phenomenon. Your best bet, however, is on an eastbound overnight transatlantic flight. If you’re flying from East Asia to the United States’ North East, you also have a good chance at viewing them, just keep a look out over the Canadian territories mentioned above.

Flyers can check to see the anticipated route for their flight and choose seats on the correct side of the plane for optimal viewing, though it’s important to note that flight paths can change at any point before or during your flight.

Strawberry Moon:

Just after midnight on June 28, the most colorful moon of the year will light up the night’s sky. The Strawberry Moon —June’s full moon named by Algonquin Native American tribes after the short season in which strawberries can be harvested — will peak at 12:53am EDT on the East Coast and 9:53pm on the West Coast.

The moon sits low in the sky, giving it its distinctive blush color. And, while it makes for a beautiful sight, this also means it may be harder to witness if you’re trying to view it from a mountainous destination, or a spot with cloudy weather (we’re looking at you Northeast).

According to The Weather Channel, travelers in the Midwest, Southwest, Rockies and parts of the south should have a clear view. For the rest of us, let’s just hope the clouds subside. If not, it still might be worth a look, the moon’s bright color can radiate throughout the clouds creating a beautiful sky.

Saturn’s Rings:

It’s rare that skygazers get a good look at Saturn’s rings — often the tilt and rotation of the Earth put the planet in our shadows — but tonight is a different story. Once a year the Earth’s orbit moves the Earth in between Saturn and the sun. This places Saturn opposite of the sun in the Earth’s sky, illuminating the planet and its rings so us earthlings can get a good look. According to Inverse, sunset tonight is the when Saturn will be the most viewable. The planet will rise in the southeast sky before setting in the west around sunrise.

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