Well, yeah, it’s cold outside! But here’s some news that might give you an excuse to hang around outside Thursday.
An strong solar flare (X1.2) will hit Earth on early Thursday morning and it’s so intense it will expand the viewing field of the aurora borealis southward, perhaps down to Colorado and Illinois! Yeah, you you can read Colorado and Illinois!
Federal space weather forecaster Joe Kunches said the sun shot out a strong solar flare late Tuesday, which should arrive at Earth early Thursday. It should shake up Earth’s magnetic field and expand the aurora borealis south, possibly as far south as Colorado and central Illinois. He said best viewing would probably be Thursday evening, weather permitting. Full evaluation and modeling of this event has refined the forecast and indicates a fairly direct interaction with Earth. (AP)
We humans aren’t directly at risk. But massive solar flares have been linked to disruptions in GPS and radio signals here on Earth.
The Tuesday’s flare was also associated with a coronal mass ejection, or CME, another solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of particles into space that can reach Earth one to three days later. These particles cannot travel through the atmosphere to harm humans on Earth, but they can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground.
If you’re in an area that might get a good glimpse of the Northern Lights, you can visit the Space Weather Center’s Aurora Forecast, which maps the “probability of visible aurora,” or the University of Alaska’s similar forecast, which has different maps that could help you pinpoint your area.