It is somewhat of an unusual phenomenon to have Northern Lights, or the aurora borealis, visible as far south as northern Missouri or central Illinois. However, it does happen from time to time when the solar winds are stronger and send electrons and protons streaming toward the earth’s upper atmosphere.
That collision produces the amazing display of Northern Lights. Having the setup for the aurora to be viewed this far to the south is unusual, but happens at times when there is high solar activity, measured by the KP index. That index has a scale of 0 to 9, where 9 is the highest level of activity. Tonight’s projected KP index is 7, making it not only quite high, but positioned in a way that gives overhead viewing of the northern lights possible as far south as Nebraska and horizon-level viewing as far south as Oklahoma City. That positions Kansas in a decent spot and with a clear sky in the forecast, we at least have a chance to see it.
WHERE TO LOOK: Keep your eyes near and just above the northern horizon. There are little indicators of exactly when it could happen tonight, but if you are in a dark area away from city lights, you’ll be well-positioned to get a glimpse, if they come to fruition.