Just in time for New Year a solar eruption may light aurora borealis in a spectacular show that can be witnessed just at the right latitudes. The northern lights should be visible in the northern states, dipping clear in Oregon and possibly even in the Bay Area.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) physicist Terry Onsager believes that for the Bay Area:
“It’s certainly possible. It depends entirely on the strength of the storm. If it turns out to be stronger, it could be seen”.
It was on Monday when a solar flare classified at M1.9 was noticed to erupt. It takes between several hours or several days for solar flares to enter Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, the M1.9 solar flare already hit the atmosphere this morning, between 5 a.m and 6 a.m. Nonetheless, the northern lights – effects of the solar flare – can delight you all the way until New Year’s eve.
The solar flare erupted on Monday, being registered by NOAA scientists to be directed straight at our planet. Due to its strength, the extreme ultraviolet radiation reached Earth’s atmosphere quickly. The ionization following this process has created a radio blackout in the south Atlantic ocean in addition to South America and Africa.
The M1.9 solar flare isn’t the most powerful eruption considering the scale rates X flares as major. Nonetheless, the event announced by NOAA did trigger a coronal mass ejection which is believed to have a major impact on our planet’s magnetic field just as we cross into the new Year.
Just in time for New Year a solar eruption may light aurora borealis, although it may also cause further radio blackouts or disrupt power grids and GPS reception.
According to NOAA, the geomagnetic storm can be classified as G3. In California, the northern lights will be lighted by a G4 geomagnetic storm, a less common event. And while those lucky enough to be at the right latitudes will enjoy the aurora borealis as natural fireworks just in time for New Year’s, the rest of us will certainly be delighted by amazing images captured across the states.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia