Auroras is perhaps seen as far south in america as northern Michigan or Maine.
The Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts a minor, G1-scale storm from the sun tonight (Dec. 23) that would generate northern lights as soon as the photo voltaic particles hit the atmosphere of Earth and work together with our planet’s magnetic subject strains.
Whereas that sounds thrilling, it will likely be possible very tough for U.S. observers to see any potential northern lights as a “bomb cyclone” is driving a large winter storm throughout the northern and jap United States.
Photo voltaic particles may also trigger points with the facility grid or in shorting out satellites, however thankfully for these working over the vacation season, it seems that the aurora’s impact can be minor. NOAA solely forecasts “weak energy grid fluctuations” and doable “minor affect on satellite tv for pc operations.”
NASA and NOAA preserve a continuing watch on the solar utilizing satellites, spacecraft and telescopes to finest inform infrastructure managers easy methods to preserve issues operating, particularly throughout busy occasions like the vacations.
NASA and different science businesses additionally work on creating fashions of the solar’s conduct to higher perceive how the 11-year cycle of sunspots works and the way warmth is generated all through the solar. Spacecraft just like the Parker Solar Probe are permitting the company to additional refine its fashions and enhance forecasts.
Elizabeth Howell is the co-author of “Why Am I Taller (opens in new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a ebook about house medication. Observe her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in new tab). Observe us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or Facebook (opens in new tab).