Magnetic energy accumulated in the sun this week like a rubber band wrapped in degreaser. On Thursday morning, the rubber band burst, and the stored energy was released as a solar flare, which would launch about a billion tons of plasma gas, which could cause a glare screen known as the Northern Lights when it reaches Earth this weekend.
Will this be visible at all on Saturday night or early Sunday morning?
“If I was at the northern level of the United States, then I would look up at the sky,” Howard J. Singer, the chief scientist of the Center for Space Weather Forecasting at the National Weather Service said in an interview on Saturday.
The Forecasting Center issued a the hour of the geomagnetic storm on Friday, which says a storm on Saturday could propel the aurora borealis, the scientific name for the Northern Lights, over the state of Washington, Upper Midwest and Northeast. The storm was classified as G3 on a scale of G1 to G5. This is not expected to cause technological disruption, the center said.
“Usually when we get to that level, we’ll see the Northern Lights in the Northern Level countries,” William Murtagh, said the program coordinator of the Space Weather Forecasting Center in an interview.
But strangers are associated with any magnetic storm, especially the exact time of its arrival. A large expulsion of plasma from the sun called a excretion of coronal mass, travels in space at a speed of about one million to six million miles per hour. Because the Earth is about 92 million miles from the sun, the journey for ejected particles is short, sometimes only 15 hours or even four days, said Dr. Murtagh.
“This one is kind of fast,” Mr. Murtagh said Saturday. “We’re expecting it today, so it’s going to take a little over 50 hours.”
However, because the ejected particles are so far away, scientists cannot predict the exact time. However, if the particles arrive on Earth during the day, there will be no light show, experts say. The same is true if you live in a city with high light pollution or in an area with cloudy weather.
But if it’s night, the sky is clear, and there’s poor light pollution, people are more likely to see aurora borealis, experts say.
The forecast center can provide people with an approximately 30-minute warning before the lights are visible because Satellite Deep Space Climate Observatory detects colliding tons of particles while still between the sun and the Earth.
When a magnetic storm reaches Earth, the colorful purple and green curtains – if they materialize – will be due to the interaction of the solar magnetic projectile with the planet’s magnetic field and “how it connects to the Earth’s magnetic field will dictate how strong the storm is,” Mr Murtagh said. .
The stronger the storm, the more likely areas in lower latitudes are to see the northern lights, experts say. A magnetic storm this weekend could occur in areas near cities like New York, Chicago, Boise, Idaho and Salem, Ore. The lights usually last for several hours and can be seen all night, Murtagh said.
In 1859 it was caused by a solar storm the northern lights, which could be seen near tropical latitudes in places like Cuba and El Salvador. In 2011, they saw the aurora borealis all the way to Alabama.
One Des Moines resident was already ready to see the spectacle in the sky on Saturday afternoon.
“I’m going to go into the dark sky, north of town, and then somehow just sit and wait,” said 28-year-old Brennan Jontz, who is part of Iowa Storm Hunting Network on Facebook, he said in an interview. “I have to be patient; that’s what the Northern Lights game is called. “
He will bring a grass chair, he said. He will drive towards the cornfields, away from the city lights, and turn somewhere onto a gravel road. He will then sit down, take the camera and wait for it to be re-illuminated.