April 21, 2024

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A geomagnetic storm warning has been issued ahead of possible northern light displays on Sunday-Monday

A geomagnetic storm warning has been issued ahead of possible northern light displays on Sunday-Monday

US News

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center warns The impending geomagnetic storm has the potential to produce a spectacular aurora display over the Northern Hemisphere, as well as some intermittent connectivity issues.

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

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

On the 5-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.

A G1 geomagnetic storm is the weakest and typically causes the northern lights to appear 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.

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.

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 general public should not be alarmed but may wish to stay informed,” SWPC said.

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.

The moon will also experience an eclipse that begins just before 1 a.m. EST on Monday and lasts until about 5:30 a.m. as it passes through Earth's shadow.

Space experts admit 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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