Experts are predicting a strong geomagnetic storm, and the aurora borealis could put on quite the show for Montanans Wednesday through Friday.

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Clear skies are in the forecast for the rest of the week in Bozeman, so you should have a good chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis. A G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm is predicted on August 17 but is expected to escalate to G3 (Strong) geomagnetic storm on August 18.

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Here's what the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center said about the event;

Geomagnetic storm watches are in effect for August 17-19 due to coronal high-speed stream (CH HHS) and coronal mass ejection (CME) influences. A lengthy CH is anticipated to affect earth first, on 17 Aug, with likely G1 conditions. An escalation to G3 storm levels is now probable on 18 August due to several CMEs combining and beginning to arrive. Conditions are anticipated to remain favorable for G2 levels on 19 August.

If you don't understand what all of that means, here's a simple explanation. The aurora will be the weakest on Wednesday, and your best chance of getting a good show will be on Thursday night. The best times to view the aurora will be between 10:00 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Aurora Borealis
Photo by Niilo Isotalo on Unsplash

The best way to see aurora borealis is to head as far north as possible. Clear skies make for the best viewing. Find a place that is as dark and free from artificial light pollution as possible.

If you've never seen the northern lights, it is something that's hard to explain. I've seen them once in my life just east of Bozeman near Bear Canyon. At first, I thought I was getting abducted by aliens.

Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash
Photo by Chris Henry on Unsplash

The further north you travel in Montana, the more likely you are to get a good view of the aurora borealis. For those of us living in the Bozeman area, our best is to get as far out of town as possible. The city lights in Bozeman make it difficult to see the night sky.

To help you out, we put together a list of a few places not far from Bozeman that will give you the best shot at watching the northern lights.

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