A solar flare erupted on the surface of the sun Friday night, and that energy is now heading toward Earth.
Now, don’t get too concerned about this- solar eruptions are fairly common. In fact, the results of solar flares can sometimes create those captivating colorful displays in the night sky known as the aurora (also known as the “northern lights”). More on that in a moment, but first…what is a solar flare?
Solar flares are “explosions” on the surface of the sun. That explosion violently releases a cloud of solar plasma, energetic particles, gas, and magnetic fields called coronal mass ejections (CME). NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center is constantly monitoring for solar flares, and caught the most recent one in eye-capturing images. (below). The “explosion” seen in the image below is the CME.
— NWS (@NWS) July 14, 2017
When coronal mass ejections are directed toward Earth, that energy will travel through space, and sometimes can interact with our atmosphere or nearby satellites. That flux of energetic particles can cause a variety of impacts to us here on Earth including disruptions with signal transmission from GPS satellites, power grids, and some forms of communication. As mentioned earlier, that influx of energetic particles interacting with Earth outer atmosphere (specifically the magnetosphere) can create beautiful aurora displays over the high latitudes of Earth, giving people spectacular dancing color displays in the night sky.
The energy from this most recent solar flare is expected to reach Earth by Sunday evening. That means if you live at a higher latitude, keep an eye to the night sky for possible aurora views. The Space Weather Prediction Center predicts that areas as far south as the lower great lakes, as well as most of the northern tier of the US. In the image below, NOAA expects the aurora to be most likely visible between the green and yellow line.
Keep watching WeatherNation, and we’ll let you know where skies will be clear so you can get outside to hopefully catch this amazing visual phenomenon.
If you’d like to learn more about solar storms and the impacts, head over to NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center site.
BRING IN THE PUMPKINS - It didn't take this family very long to get into the fall spirit, already grabbing pumpkin… https://t.co/twg7nXHMjO28 minutes ago by WeatherNation
Florence leftovers could head back to the Carolinas as a much weaker system... Here's what's happening and how the… https://t.co/4x0unMwy1M2 hours ago by WeatherNation
NEW VIDEO - Unfortunately it was a busy night for one Texas tow-man as he worked to free several trapped cars caug… https://t.co/GdDH4RzxUx5 hours ago by WeatherNation
☕ "What is a pumpkin spice latte?" Our lovely morning team is excited to usher in a new season today. Here's wha… https://t.co/FxoiQRdZQC5 hours ago by WeatherNation
SEVERE WEATHER - Heartbreaking scenes out of Canada after a strong storm ripped through Quebec, leaving behind deva… https://t.co/gXpoj7GmhL6 hours ago by WeatherNation
Flooding concerns across Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas this weekend. https://t.co/zu36znzWgj7 hours ago by WeatherNation
Why Tropical Depression Eleven is expected to weaken as it approaches the Caribbean Sea https://t.co/DyfkcTpt9X12 hours ago by WeatherNation
DEMOLISHED NEIGHBORHOODS - Horrific scenes in some neighborhoods in Quebec, Canada as the same system that spawned… https://t.co/t5T8rAGLZE13 hours ago by WeatherNation
JUST IN: Tropical Depression Eleven has formed east of the Caribbean. The storm is forecast to remain a tropical de… https://t.co/fq0MX6V2UC14 hours ago by WeatherNation
Beautiful fall foliage is peaking in the Rocky Mountains. These pictures are courtesy Larry Pierce in Steamboat… https://t.co/ur1zzYV25u15 hours ago by WeatherNation
FORECAST: Additional rainfall between this afternoon (Friday) and Monday shows up to several *more* inches of rain… https://t.co/EOEwii8A9s16 hours ago by WeatherNation