Stargazers could be in for a rare display Friday night as an Earth-directed solar flare ignites the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, in the United States. As a result of the flare’s direction and strength, the dazzling light display could reach as far south as Maryland in the East and down over Nebraska farther west.

According to AccuWeather.com Astronomer Hunter Outten, the flare is ranked as an X-class, or the highest class for a solar flare. Along with the brilliant light display that may be visible to some in the northern part of the country, a flare of this magnitude could also have adverse effects on GPS, radio frequencies and cell phone and satellite reception as well.

A coronal mass ejection (CME), or a cloud of charged particles released from solar activity, is expected to induce a geomagnetic storm in Earth’s atmosphere, around midday Friday. Outten said that this CME will be the second of a “two-hit punch.” The geomagnetic storm will cause the northern lights show.

via Northern Lights May Ignite in Northeast, Central US Skies: Where to See Rare Show – AccuWeather.com.