Two solar flares fuse together to form a supernova before hitting Earth on Wednesday, according to space weather tracking.
The pair formed a so-called “coronal mass ejection” and veered toward us at 1.8 million miles per hour (2.9 km/h).
They shook our planet’s magnetic field on Wednesday, giving rise to the aurora borealis that are set to continue today.
According to American astronomer Dr. Tony Phillips, the aurora borealis can be seen as far south as New York and North Dakota.
In the UK, sky watchers in Scotland may catch a rare glimpse of the event, which appears when charged particles hit the atmosphere.
Dr. Phillips wrote on his website: “Cannibals collided with Earth’s magnetic field on March 31 (0210 GMT)” spaceweather.com.
“The first contact caused a Category G1 geomagnetic storm with the potential for stronger storms later in the day as Earth passes through the CME magneto wake.”
Streams of hot material are the result of a wave of solar storms that erupted from the sun this week.
NASA’s observatories picked up a total of 17 people who had exploded from the star on Monday and at least two shot toward Earth.
When CMEs reach Earth, they release what’s known as a geomagnetic storm — a largely harmless perturbation of the magnetic field.
on its space weather alert systemThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned of the potential impacts on Earth.
It said geomagnetic storms with ratings of G3 (strong) and G2 (moderate) were expected on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
In addition to launching the aurora borealis, G3 storms can disrupt satellites and technology on Earth.
These include intermittent problems with the GPS, problems with high-frequency radio signals, and power system errors, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
It may sound ominous, but any problems caused by the storm will be minor and unlikely to affect daily life.
Data on the ejected coronal masses were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and the Sun and Heliosphere Observatory.
Dr. Phillips explained that storms should trigger the aurora borealis at unusually low latitudes.
Writing on spaceweather.com, which tracks the sun’s activity, he said Americans should see them after dark on Wednesday.
For Europeans, prefer the hours before the dawn of March 31.
Dr. Phillips wrote: “When chasing the twilight, the dark sky is necessary; go to the country.”
“Urban glow can overwhelm the aurora borealis even during a strong geomagnetic storm.”
Solar storms are caused by solar flares and solar flares, which are massive ejections of hot material called plasma from the sun’s outermost layer.
It can give rise to the colorful aurora borealis by activating molecules in our planet’s atmosphere
Each solar storm is rated according to its intensity on a scale of one to five, with G1 described as “slight” and G5 as “severe”.
At the upper end of the scale, storms wreak havoc in our planet’s magnetic field, potentially disrupting power and communications networks.
“The harmful radiation from the flare cannot pass through the Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on Earth,” NASA says.
“However – when severe enough – it can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS signals and communications travel.”
Fortunately, this week geomagnetic storms are unlikely to significantly affect life or technology on Earth.
In the past, large solar flares wreaked havoc on our planet.
In 1989, a powerful solar eruption released so many electrically charged particles on Earth that the Canadian province of Quebec lost energy for nine hours.
In addition to causing problems for our technology, they can cause harm to astronauts working on the International Space Station, either through exposure to radiation or through interference with mission control communications.
Earth’s magnetic field helps protect us from the more dangerous consequences of solar flares.
The sun is currently at the start of a new 11-year solar cycle, which usually experiences an eruption and flare that gets more intense and extreme.
These events are expected to peak around 2025, and it is hoped that NASA’s Solar Orbiter will be observing them all as it aims to fly within 26 million miles of the sun.
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