(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Minnesota is one of 17 states that could see the northern lights this week.

A solar storm forecast for Thursday is expected to give sky-gazers in 17 American states a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights, the colorful sky show that happens when solar wind hits the atmosphere. Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are most often seen in Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia, but an 11-year solar cycle that’s expected to peak in 2024 is making the lights visible in places farther to the south.

The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks has forecast auroral activity Thursday in Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Indiana, Maine, and Maryland.