Northern lights return to California but here's why you likely won't see them

The stunning Northern lights are returning to California on Thursday but there may be a very good reason why you likely won't be able to see them.

They're expected to appear in the sky as low as Alabama and Northern California about 2 p.m. when the sun will be out. 

Weather watchers say the best time to see the aurora borealis, is at night, far away from city lights. 

Northern California got lucky when a geomagnetic storm hit in early May. The northern lights were visible across some of the Bay Area, primarily where light pollution didn't have a huge impact.


See Northern lights photos as strong solar storm hits Earth

An unusually strong solar storm hitting Earth was able to produce northern lights across parts of the U.S. and the world.

Several Bay Area residents spotted the Northern lights in places, including Oakley in Contra Costa County on May 10 and 11. 

Yan Li, research physicist, UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory, told UC News that it's reasonable to expect more of these aurora sightings in the next few years.

The northern lights occur when a coronal mass ejection, or an eruption of solar material, happens. When that solar material arrives at Earth, it can result in a geomagnetic storm.