A strong solar storm is producing aurora-friendly conditions as far south as Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oregon today.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center, the sun launched 2 coronal mass ejections (CME) on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. CMEs are eruptions in the sun’s environment that blast a electromagnetic field into area– and in this case, towards Earth
When these magnetic interruptions struck Earth’s upper environment, they can trigger geomagnetic storms. These storms can interfering with satellite interactions and other electronic devices. They likewise trigger particles in the electromagnetic field surrounding Earth to discharge light, producing the heavenly program called the aurora.
The aurora, likewise referred to as the northern or southern lights, typically remains at high latitudes, near the poles. A strong solar storm can make the phenomenon noticeable additional south. According to Sky News, the current geomagnetic disruption brought views of the aurora to skywatchers throughout the United Kingdom. Aurora sightings were likewise reported on Oct. 3 in the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin and New England
CMEs take a trip at various speeds, and the very first magnetic blast from the sun got to 2: 42 p.m. ET on Nov. 3, according to NOAA. Sundown on Nov. 4 might bring additional chances for aurora-viewing in the Lower 48, according to the company.
When anticipating the aurora, researchers utilize something called the Planetary K-index, which determines geomagnetic storms on a 9-point scale. 5 or above shows a geomagnetic storm. Since Nov. 4, the K-index was hovering in between 6 and 7. The Space Weather Prediction Center likewise offers a 30- minute projection of auroral activity revealing the area and strength of the aurora. The center likewise supplies a seeing chart with significant cities’ magnetic latitude and the K-index generally needed for seeing an aurora at those magnetic latitudes. At a K-index of 7, the aurora can be seen as far south as Seattle.
The aurora can be unforeseeable, however the very same guidelines make an application for aurora-spotting when it comes to star-watching: The finest views are most likely to be discovered on cloudless nights far from city lights. You do not have to be ideal under the lights to see them; according to NOAA, the aurora can be noticeable from hundreds of miles away if the conditions are.
Originally released on Live Science
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing author for Live Science covering subjects from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and habits. A freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, she likewise frequently adds to Scientific American and The Monitor, the regular monthly publication of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie got a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science interaction from the University of California, Santa Cruz.