Northern Lights Could Be Visible On New Year’s Eve

Posted: Dec 31 2015, 2:21am CST | by , Updated: Dec 31 2015, 8:05am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Strong Solar Storm Could Bring Northern Lights on New Year’s Eve
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A strong solar storm could make northern lights visible across the northern parts of the United States.

New Year is expected to start with a bang as there could potentially be a massive natural firework display on the way. A strong solar storm will slam earth just before New Year's eve and could create an opportunity to view Northern lights on the night sky.

NOAA predicts that a powerful solar flare will hit earth’s atmosphere at such a high speed that it could make a chance to view Northern Lights clearly in many parts of United States including Iowa, Oregon, Nebraska and Illinois.

"Areas along the Canadian border will have the best chance to see the northern lights," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Dave Samuhel.

“Clouds are expected to dissipate through the night across the Upper Midwest and northern Plains, leading to some chances to view the event. The Pacific Northwest will have the best viewing conditions due to clear skies."

The strong G3 class geomagnetic storm could also create fluctuations on power grids, disruption in high altitude radio singles and it can affect GPS, cell phone and satellite reception as well.

The strong solar storm, also known as coronal mass ejection (CME), is a massive burst of gas and magnetic field erupted from the sun. Terry Onsager, a physicist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains it as “a chunk of the sun's atmosphere, mainly protons and electrons, that carries a magnetic field.”

When the particles enter the earth magnetic field, it causes brilliant light display or aurora borealis on the sky.

"The CME is part of the sun's atmosphere that gets blasted out into space," Samuhel said. "Then it reaches Earth; it interacts with the magnetic field and triggers auroras and some communication problems."

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