Powerful solar storms are sending a beautiful northern lights show to the Maritimes tonight.

If you want to see them here, the CBC’s Kalin Mitchell has some advice. You should:

  • Head north. Some of the best sights will be seen in New Brunswick from Edmundston and across the Acadian Peninsula. But wherever you are, the further north you go, the better the show. 
  • Flee the city. The more distance you put between you and artificial lights, the better you’ll see nature’s lights.
  • Look low. The lights will dance low on the northern horizon, so focus there.
  • Get high. Climb a hill or other elevated spot to reduce obstructions like tree lines or other hills.

The lights could be visible at any time tonight, so bring blankets and a hot drink. The dancing red and green lights rarely grace Maritime skies.  

David Lane, director of the Burke-Gaffney Observatory at Saint Mary’s University, said the lights started with a powerful solar flare that erupted in the sun this week.

“Many people have never seen them," he said. 

'Predicting northern lights is probably 10 times worse than predicting the weather.' - David Lane

“I'm quite excited. I'm hoping we'll get a chance. It's been a long time, probably at least 11 or 12 years since I've seen a decent northern lights.”

The solar storm's charged particles are heading for earth. When they hit the atmosphere they will excite oxygen and nitrogen, creating “curtains” of light above the magnetic pole.

“Tonight the chances are pretty good, but it's still not a guarantee,” Lane said Friday. “Predicting northern lights is probably 10 times worse than predicting the weather.”