April 16, 2024

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An intense geomagnetic storm could produce northern light shows across the United States

An intense geomagnetic storm could produce northern light shows across the United States

US News

An intense geomagnetic storm is occurring after volcanic eruptions from the Sun send plasma toward Earth, with the potential to produce northern lights as far south as Alabama and northern California through Monday.

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) released a A geomagnetic storm alert was issued on Sunday after sun-monitoring satellites recorded an X 1.1 solar flare and then a high-speed coronal hole jet, or CH HSS.

The aurora borealis occurs when charged particles from the sun interact with the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the appearance of what are known as the northern and southern lights.

On the five-point geomagnetic storm scale, space experts believe the first wave of energy could be classified as either G1 or G2 but on Monday it will rise to G3. However, over the past 24 hours, severe weather conditions have been observed in space G4 and are expected to continue, according to the SWPC dashboard.

A G1 geomagnetic storm is the weakest and typically produces the northern lights over Alaska and Canada.

The G3 classification will likely allow the aurora to be seen as far south as Washington, Wisconsin and New York if skies are clear.

With G4 conditions (level 4 of 5) observed and forecast through Monday, northern lights displays could be seen as far south as Alabama and northern California.

The amount of geomagnetic activity is also monitored by geomagnetometers, and the event is measured on a Kp index scale, which ranges from 0 to 9.

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A G3 event with a high Kp index value caused the northern lights to be observed as far south as Las Vegas in December.

Space experts believe the upcoming event could reach a Kp value of at least 6, which would put cities such as Seattle, Minneapolis, Green Bay, and Syracuse, New York, in the viewing area.

The Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute expects high aurora activity at Kp-6 levels through Monday night.

“The public should not expect negative impacts, and no action is required, but should stay properly informed of the storm’s development by visiting our webpage,” the SWPC said on Sunday.

The FOX Forecast Center expects there will be a lot of obstructions in the sky on Sunday and Monday nights which could complicate viewing.

What is the Kp value required to see the Northern Lights in the United States? Noah

A large storm system will move through the heart of the country, bringing heavy rain and thunderstorms.

In addition to increased cloud cover, March's full worm moon will light up the sky, obstructing the view of other celestial objects.

a Faint lunar eclipse It will begin just before 1 a.m. EST on Monday and last until about 5:30 a.m. when the moon passes through Earth's shadow.

Space experts acknowledge that determining the exact strength of geomagnetic activity is a challenge, even though it occurs frequently.

The center said that satellites detected at least one flare and a coronal mass ejection emanating from the Sun on Friday.
The center said that satellites detected at least one flare and a coronal mass ejection emanating from the Sun on Friday. NASA via Getty Images

Geomagnetic storms have become more numerous over the past year, as the Sun begins to reach the maximum phase of its solar cycle.

The solar cycle is a sequence that the Sun's magnetic field goes through every 11 years, during which the field reverses. Solar cycle 25 began in 2019 and could continue until 2030.


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