A spike in solar activity should mean the Northern Lights will be visible in Calgary, and across Canada, on Thursday night.

"Due to recent extreme solar activity, we expect significant aurora over much, if not all, of Canada tonight. It might be worth going outside and looking up if it is clear. The best viewing will likely be in the late evening and very early morning," said University of Calgary professor Eric Donovan.

The U of C is offering to share its sky watching cameras with the public so everyone has an opportunity for a close-up view of the colourful displays.

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are often visible in the north during the winter, but it's much less commonly seen in southern Alberta. Scientists are hoping to capture the rare occurrence on camera and post images of the event online as part of the U of C's AuroraMax program.

AuroraMAX is essentially an online observatory with a network of cameras. The program is part of a partnership which includes the City of Yellowknife, Astronomy North and the Canadian Space Agency.

When solar activity picks up, alerts are issued, and sky watchers, space geeks and the curious can all watch the aurora live online.

University of Calgary research assistant, Emma Sandswick says, “We have set up a high resolution digital camera on the roof of Science B to capture any aurora in Calgary. The recap movies will be available as soon as the sun comes up but individuals can watch the feeds live from the Auroramax website.”

To view the high-def Aurora Borealis images, visit AuroraMAX.