An aurora borealis, better known by most as the Northern Lights, may be visible starting tonight over much of Washington State.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), a geomagnetic storm has already begun to hit the Earth, making for favorable conditions.

The atmospheric light show, which will likely run through Thursday night, could be visible all the way down to the Washington/Oregon border.

Sue Mitchell, PIO for the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, said auroras are caused by charged particles ejected from the sun hitting the earth's magnetic field

"Those particles from the sun hit our magnetic field and they come down at the poles." Mitchell added, "So those two auroras are pretty much identical. People who would be near the South Pole would be seeing the same thing"

Those trying to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights should find a location that provides a clear, unobstructed view to the north. For example, areas like the Wenatchee Valley do not make for great aurora viewing because most locations in the area have mountains to the north. Light pollution from nearby populated areas and smoke can affect your chances of seeing the event.

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