• Image: AuroraMAX

If you’ve always wanted to see the northern lights, tonight could be your night. Strong waves of solar particles are bombarding our magnetosphere and could intensify through the overnight hours.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has issued an advisory ahead of possible G3 (strong) solar storm conditions. Similar to hurricanes, solar storms are rated on a five-point scale from G1 (mild) to G5 (extreme). Solar storms of strength G3 and above can sometimes impact power systems on Earth, but their more common (and dazzling) effect is bright, active aurora displays.

According to the Canadian Space Agency’s AuroraMAX service, weather and sky conditions permitting, most of Canada has a good chance to view the northern lights tonight — even areas further south in Ontario and the Maritimes that rarely see auroras.

Photographing the Northern Lights

If you’re thinking of grabbing your camera and heading out to try to snap a few shots, check out these tips from photographer Zoltan Kenwell.

If you succeed in capturing auroras in your area, share your photos with us! Join our Photo Club for a chance to be featured online or in the magazine, or tweet photos to @CanGeo.