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  • 'Cannibal' solar burst headed for Earth could make northern lights visible in U.S.

'Cannibal' solar burst headed for Earth could make northern lights visible in U.S.

Written by  Friday, 19 August 2022 11:48
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Washington DC (UPI) Aug 18, 2021
A plume of "dark plasma" from the sun is expected to be overtaken by a "cannibal" solar burst that may cause an aurora display visible throughout large portions of the United States on Thursday. The first "dark plasma explosion" was first seen on Sunday after erupting from a sunspot on the sun's surface at a speed of 1.3 million mph, tearing through the sun's atmosphere and creating a c

A plume of "dark plasma" from the sun is expected to be overtaken by a "cannibal" solar burst that may cause an aurora display visible throughout large portions of the United States on Thursday.

The first "dark plasma explosion" was first seen on Sunday after erupting from a sunspot on the sun's surface at a speed of 1.3 million mph, tearing through the sun's atmosphere and creating a coronal mass ejection, or CME, Spaceweather.com wrote.

CMEs are clouds of charged matter known as plasma that are ejected by the sun when tangled magnetic field lines abruptly shift and release large amounts of energy. They occur frequently, but can interact with the Earth's magnetic field and cause geomagnetic storms if they're launched in our direction.

Geomagnetic storms can interfere with radio navigation and cause power grid fluctuations.

On Monday, a second CME was created by the collapse of a gigantic magnetic filament and was also launched from the sun.

The second eruption is forecast to become more energetic and ultimately faster than the first, overtaking it in a process known as CME cannibalization.

When the cannibal CME reaches Earth, it was expected to cause a G3 geomagnetic storm -- which occurs when planets with strong magnetic fields, such as Earth, absorb solar debris from CMEs.

Geomagnetic storms are classified from G1 to G5 according to severity. A G3 is considered a strong storm.

G3 storms can cause intermittent problems for low-frequency and satellite navigation, increased drag on low-Earth orbit satellites and may require some power systems to make voltage corrections.

The storms don't usually cause much trouble for humans' ordinary lives, but severe storms can create things like power grid blackouts. Earlier this year, a geomagnetic storm affected several SpaceX satellites and effectively led them to fall back to Earth.

Britain's national weather service, the Met Office, predicted that Thursday's geomagnetic storm will be minor and will not cause significant disruption.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also forecast that the storm could cause visible northern lights, or aurora borealis, to be visible in the U.S. mainland.

The northern lights could be seen as far south as Illinois and Oregon, which is well outside their normal realm.


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SOLAR SCIENCE
NASA rocket team to chase pulsating aurora
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Feb 23, 2022
A new NASA sounding rocket mission will soon take to the Alaskan skies. The LAMP mission, short for Loss through Auroral Microburst Pulsations, will fly above an often-overlooked kind of northern lights to test a theory on what causes them. The launch window at Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska, opens on Feb. 24, 2022. The aurora borealis, or northern lights, is a familiar treat to those who call northern latitudes home. Auroras come in different shapes and colors, waving their ribbon ... read more


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