Aurora Borealis Could Be Lighting Up The Lower 48By: Tina Volpe - January 9, 2014
The Northern Lights might just give the lower states, predicted all the way to Colorado and possibly Washington, Illinois, and Michigan, a dazzling display thanks to a recent solar flare.
That is for those states who have clear skies! The colorful, stunning lights of the aurora borealis are forecasted for Thursday and Friday, and could be putting on quite the show for those who haven’t had the opportunity to see this amazing display before. They are common in Alaska and the North Pole and South Pole, however.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center said, “The CME [coronal mass ejection] is forecast to set off G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm activity through January 9 and 10,” NOAA wrote on its prediction center site on Wednesday. “Aurora watchers should be ready.”
The northern lights are caused by particles sent from the sun when a solar flare bursts away. Those charged particles hit earth’s atmosphere near the poles, where the magnetic fields are closest to the planet. When they intermingle with earth’s magnetic field a light show of unbelievable colors and lights can be seen.
“These particles cannot travel through the atmosphere to harm humans on Earth, but they can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground,” NASA said in a statement. “When intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.”
Keep your eyes peeled for an amazing light show, compliments of the sun.