Below is a live map showing you where you can see the Northern Lights here in Oregon or Washington based on the current KP-Index.
You’ll see that here in Portland we need a KP-Index of at least 7 even to begin to get a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. That is a geomagnetic storm of G3 or G4. However, it is more likely that we would need a 9(the red line).
Most people are unaware that you can buy a nice computerized telescope right from Amazon.
Needed KP-Index Chart
Actual KP-Index Needed Map courtesy of NOAA
Actual Live KP-Index
Honestly, I’ve gone out on a K of 8 twice and not seen them. It only means we have a chance. I think it would take a 9 or higher to really see them, but we’ll find out soon enough. If you’ve seen them here in our state, please comment with your experiences below!
Do you have all of these earthquake survival supplies?
Yes, I am aware that if a photographer goes out with an expensive camera set up and does a 30-minute exposure photo, it will show faint what appear to be northern lights. But that does not equate to you being able to see them as all the fake news headlines read.
Best conditions for seeing the Northern Lights in Oregon or Washington
Well, as you now know, we have to have a KP-Index of at least 7, preferably up to 9.
But even then you need to hope for perfect moon conditions(current moon phase) and you must get away from city lights.
This map shows you all the light pollution across the world. It’s immaculate. But with this map, you can seek out places here in our state to view the Northern Lights. We’re lucky here in Oregon because you don’t have to drive far in any directions to get optimal viewing conditions.
United States Aurora Forecast
And of course there is always the aurora forecast straight from NOAA. They can help you figure it out.
NOAA Forecast – Slow loading animation but the best forecast option.
Alaska.edu Forecast – You may need to hit next a few days for a full forecast.
What causes the Aurora Borealis?
The sun does with its beautiful Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections.
Also, if you follow Suspicious Observers on Youtube, you will know way ahead of time if we get a large Coronal Mass Ejection or Solar Flare off the Earth-facing sun. When they come at us, is when we can expect magnetic storms that produce the Aurora Borealis. I watch his solar weather report every morning. You should too.
I made this page to help teach you how to check this for yourself. I got tired of seeing local media affiliates spin false articles every time there is a minor solar flare. They only do it because they know uneducated, uninformed people will quickly share links without doing any research on their own. You are now prepared and know how to check this on your own(you could just come back here). No more false alarms for media advertising clicks!
If you’re into this kind of stuff, you may love my Best Oregon Weather Sources article.
Please share this article and inform others.
Photo by Gary Randall Photographic Art