NASA observatory spots flurry of solar flares
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Solar flares come as a natural but unpredictable part of the Sun’s existence and travel nearly 100 million miles through space to cause dazzling displays on Earth. One made that journey last month, and another has followed this week. People could enjoy a display akin to the Northern Lights just in time for Halloween.
Where can you see the Northern Lights this weekend?
The latest solar flare erupted from the Sun on October 28, ejecting a cloud of electromagnetic particles that should make “Earthfall” by October 30.
These will cases a brilliant display over parts of the world during Halloween weekend, including the day itself.
But not everyone will catch a glimpse, just select communities in the northern hemisphere.
The particles will supercharge solar winds primarily around North America.
Affected locations will likely include New York, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, Maryland and Oregon.
The best displays will come even further north, however.
C Alex Young, NASA’s Heliophysics Division associate director at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, said the UK could also catch a glimpse.
The best vantage points, he said, will fall across Iceland, Scotland, Norway, Alaska, Canada and Michigan in the US.
People can catch the best glimpse of the lights during the dead of night, around 12am, when it is often darkest.
They will also need clear conditions, as a blanket of clouds in the lower atmosphere could smother anything happening above.
But even with ideal conditions, the display won’t be as pronounced in some areas.
The Northern Lights tend to shine brightest the further north people get.
This is primarily because the planet’s poles conduct the most electromagnetic energy.
While the solar flare will intensify that, further south, the display will appear milder.
People won’t see the strongest energy cast by the flare.
The electromagnetic discharge could impact some of the planet’s orbiting satellite arrays.
Some people may find they experience a brief loss of functionality with some devices dependant on those satellites.
When the Sun first loosed its latest flare, it caused a near-immediate impact in South America.
Most of the continent, at the time facing the star, briefly lost radio capabilities.
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