Strong solar flare means potentially rare northern lights in North Carolina

Strong solar flare means potentially rare northern lights in North Carolina

Raleigh, NC (WNCN) – The unusually strong coronal mass emission (CME) coming from the sun earlier this week will give the majority of Americans a chance to see the northern lights on Wednesday and Thursday night. This includes rare cases where auroras are sufficient south of North Carolina.

Most of the time this happens on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10pm to 1am. If they appear, the auroras will be in the northern sky.

Coronal mass emissions, or solar flares, are the energy and particles that the Sun throws towards the Earth. They occur frequently, but do not always develop it in the solar system. CMEs that normally go to Earth are deflected by a magnetic shield around the planet.

However, this method is unusually strong for CME, so some energy and particles will generate around the Earth’s magnetic field to the north and south poles.

The particles and energy that make it up to the poles will be filtered through North America, which will provide some aural activity to the northern night sky. It will be in some green form of the sky, but not the extreme version of the multi-colored ribbons found in photos or movies.

The unfortunate thing about auroras is that they are very difficult to predict. So, although the changes in the sun’s energy are a long shot all the way to North Carolina, it is also possible that it will not happen.

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This type of phenomenon is usually only known in Alaska or Canada, so it is worth a look. Good luck!

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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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