I have always wanted to see the northern lights. Everyone who's seen them says there are few things more beautiful and captivating that you can ever see on Earth.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

The problem is: I also don’t particularly want to travel somewhere far north enough that I can see them because of the cold. Norway, maybe. That Alaskan town where the sun sets for a whole month out of the year? No way, gorgeous natural phenomena or not.

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That’s why a new alert from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has me supremely excited to watch the New York night sky this week.

In non-science-speak, starting tonight an absolutely massive breakaway solar flare could hit the Earth’s atmosphere and cause the spectacular lights show we call the Aurora Borealis far outside the Arctic Circle for as long as the week. Upstate New York is well within the “mid-lattitude” area for a strong light show.

Northern Lights in Norway
Getty Images

When is the best time to see the northern lights?

The most colorful time to see an aurora show is twilight, just before the sun vanishes completely, but even in darkness the trademark green and yellow hues would still shine.

Getty Images
Getty Images

On the downside, a solar storm big enough to let us see an aurora show in New York would also be devastating on electromagnetic devices and technology we all depend on. If Earth is hit by a direct strike, it could affect GPS, internet, and radio signals. It could even cause rail accidents, as signals that rely on impulses getting false positives could lead to train collisions.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

Gallery Credit: Alexander Raeburn

LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Caldwell

All Aboard! Take a Scenic Train Ride Through the Southern Adirondacks

All aboard! Take a beautiful scenic trip on the Saratoga Corinth & Hudson Railway. This train line was originally built in 1864 by the Adirondack Company. The line was refurbished and begins at the Corinth Station and runs through the Southern Adirondacks region. The standard coach is a historic locomotive that was first built in 1943. Passengers can ride in first class, standard coach, or the open-air seating car that features picnic tables. This train runs on Saturdays and Sundays. Each scenic ride is ninety minutes. There are themed rides too including fall train tours.

Gallery Credit: www.corinthtrain.com, Marc Glucksman, Jacob Galvin, Jennifer Al-Beck, River Rail Photos