Home Tech The Northern Lights Could Be Visible Across the United States Thanks to a Rare Solar Storm

The Northern Lights Could Be Visible Across the United States Thanks to a Rare Solar Storm

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The Northern Lights Could Be Visible Across the United States Thanks to a Rare Solar Storm

Three quick bursts of charged particles that burst toward Earth from the Sun’s fiery outer atmosphere on Wednesday could spark dazzling auroras across a wide swath of the United States and a colorful hue as far south as Florida to start the weekend.

Traveling at more than 1.5 million miles per hour, the trio of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) have coalesced into a pulse of plasma and magnetic field during the 60-hour journey from the Sun’s atmosphere to our own.

Following these developments, experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center issued a “severe geomagnetic storm alert” ahead of its arrival. This was the first such alert issued by the agency in nearly 20 years.

Auroras may be seen across much of the United States as a result of this expected storm. An event of this magnitude is also likely to cause disruptions to radios, satellites, and possibly even some power grids, although it’s nothing most people should worry about.

This weekend’s aurora potential began with a sunspot more than 10 times larger than Earth. In fact, it is a sunspot so large that visible to the non-magnified eye through a leftover pair of eclipse glasses.

Solar flares and CMEs are often associated with sunspots. Larger, more intense spots can lead to more frequent and intense releases of matter from the solar atmosphere.

Satellites dedicated to monitoring solar activity detected the first CME rising from the solar corona around 9:00 a.m. EDT on May 8. A second, smaller CME emerged from the same region a few hours later, followed by another burst of charged matter about eight hours later. hours after that.

The three CMEs erupted with different intensities and speeds. The first CME was the largest and slowest of the trio, allowing the second, faster CME to collide and merge with the first. The group’s third CME would eventually also catch up, allowing all three waves of charged particles to reach Earth in a single wave about 60 hours after being ejected from the sun.

The combined intensity of all three CMEs hitting Earth’s atmosphere at once is the driving force behind the severe geomagnetic storm.

If all goes on track, a memorable series of auroras could grace the skies over much of the United States during the overnight hours of Friday into the early morning hours of Saturday.

The timing of the event places the likely peak of disturbance in the middle of the night across the United States, providing ample viewing opportunity for most of the country if the event remains ongoing.

A geomagnetic storm of this intensity could make the aurora visible from Seattle to Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C., with auroras possible as far south as Oklahoma City and Raleigh, North Carolina. The colors may be visible on the northern horizon as far north as Florida.

People across Europe and Asia can also see the auroras if the storm hits during the night hours. During the peak of an event of this magnitude, the Northern Lights could dance over London, Paris, Berlin and Moscow.

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