Acuweather: Northern lights may light up in some parts of the United States this week

Acuweather: Northern lights may light up in some parts of the United States this week
After many years of sleep, the sunlight erupting from the sun towards the earth triggers a rare scene for areas farther south than normal in the northern lights and becomes the latest sign that the sun is “awake”.

Sunlight erupting from the Sun on Monday created a coronal mass emission (CME) of plasma from the Sun’s atmosphere, which will remain in contact with the Earth’s atmosphere until Thursday. As a result, NOAA’s Space Weather Forecast Center expects G-3 intensity (strong) to peak at G-1 (Minor) to G-5 from Wednesday night to Thursday morning. (Serious).

Aqueduct senior meteorologist and astronomer David Samuel explained that a solar storm, also known as a geomagnetic storm, occurs when solar particles interact with the Earth’s atmosphere to form auroras. The strength of these storms can be seen in the stunning lights in any area.

When these waves of charged particles reach Earth, the planet’s magnetic field pushes them toward the north and south poles, where they collide with the planet’s atmosphere. The relationship between charged particles and the Earth’s atmosphere is what causes the colorful rotations of light called the aurora. In the northern hemisphere, the lights are called aurora borealis, and they glow in a variety of colors, including clear greens and purples.

Breathing phenomenon is a regular occurrence close to the North and South Poles, but it is rarely seen in the most populous areas of Europe and the United States during strong geomagnetic storms.

“It’s about the strength of the solar storm. The strongest storm, the auroras in the south,” Samuel said.

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In the intensity of the G-3 storm, northern lights are likely to reach locations in the United States from Boston to Chicago to Seattle, although viewing the aurora from cities is not possible due to light pollution.

“If the storm gains this strength, it could see the northern lights in the south as far north as Pennsylvania, Iowa and Washington, but it would look like a dim glow on the horizon, not spinning the upper bands of light as people think. Said.

However, cloudy and light pollution can prevent you from seeing some of these areas.

“I would say that light pollution (visibility of northern lights) affects more than meteor showers,” Samuel said. “It’s usually very dim when looking south. You have to be in a pitch-black area to see it, and it can still be dim.”

People who see dim lights can sometimes get better images by using longer exposures, so the lights are shown.

Minnesota and Wisconsin seem to be one of the few places with low clouds, and according to Samuel, northern New England and the northwest will have the worst conditions to see the aurora.

However, Samuel warns that the storm should not blow.

“The forecast of these solar storms is very severe and more difficult than the weather forecast,” Samuel said. “Many times such exaggerated events do not come out.”

The strength of these solar storms that allow auroras to move south depends on the intensity of the flames and CMs. Strong event, strong storm. In turn, the stronger the storm, the farther it reaches the northern lights – the more serious potential impacts.

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These strong burns typically occur during the “solar peak” or part of the 11-year solar cycle, which results in longer periods of solar activity with more sunspots and a greater number of CMEs. The solar minimum represents the period with the lowest solar activity in this 11-year cycle. The sun is currently changing from one solar minimum to the next solar maximum, which is predicted to reach its peak in the first half of the 2020s.

Auroras are more likely to occur at high sun exposure, but they can also occur at low sun exposure, says Samuel. However, an aurora that appears unusually southerly needs a strong expansion, which is not much more likely except at sunny highs.

Although solar storms are rated at G-1 to G-5, solar flares are the smallest with five-tier A-class burns and B, C, M and X-class burns. Although there is no upper limit for X-Class burns, each layer has a scale of 1 to 9 following the letter.

Monday saw a C7.4-class solar flare – one of the strongest recent flares targeting Earth, announcing a period of transformation into the most active part of the solar cycle 25 that could affect the planet.

“It may be a sign that the sun is’ awake,” Samuel said. “The current solar is at least coming to an end.”

The last solar peak appeared from 2011 to 2015, before the sun was almost dormant.

But on November 29, 2020, even though the M-Class solar flare was moving away from Earth, a large CME would still be there.

Even in the Middle Ages, the direction of solar flares played a major role in their effects along with their strength. Even if M4.4 passes unaffected, the combination of a strong expansion in the direction of the Earth could cause a technical disaster.

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According to the NOAA, the expanding G-3 solar storm will have minimal impact on electrical systems, spacecraft operations and satellite navigation along with it. But with strong storms more severe impacts are likely.

On September 10, 2017, during the last gas of solar peak, the Sun produced an X 8.3 solar flare – one of the strongest flares ever measured, says Samuel. It was far from the planet.

“It would have led to planetary darkness and more satellites would have been fried. It would have been a global catastrophe,” Samuel said.

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About the Author: Cary Douglas

Cary Douglas is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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