Solar flare 2011: Will the northern lights reach south?
Please excuse the sun. It's emitting a little flare these days. On Valentine's Day, the sun emitted it's first X-class flare in more than four years. These solar flares are bursts of magnetic energy released as radiation from the sun.
The downside of these burts of light? Intense X-class flares can trigger radio blackouts, radiation storms and damage to the electrical grid. China has reported disturbance from the flares.
The upside? Awesome northern lights. The lights are produced when the solar flare-charged particles blowing away from the sun, called solar wind, interact with the Earth's magnetic field. As the particles strike different gases in the atmosphere, they produce different colors.
There's even a chance us southerners in Washington might get a peak at the lights.
The Capital Weather Gang writes:
You'll need to be in a rural location to avoid the obscuration of city lights. Over the next few days clouds should not interfere with viewing. However, even if all else were favorable, the light of the nearly full moon significantly diminishes chances of seeing an aurora, except within couple hours before moon set in the very early morning hours. Chances of seeing the northern lights are better in New England and the Great Lakes (not coincidentally locations farther north).
| February 17, 2011; 11:45 AM ET
Categories: The Daily Catch
Save & Share: Previous: Watson computer's final answer: Humans are doomed?
Next: Bahrain protests: the world tunes into small country
Posted by: WishboneJr | February 17, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse