The chances of seeing the Northern Lights may increase next week

A series of geomagnetic disturbances that have left the sun and headed toward Earth could give some residents in the Northern Hemisphere an aurora-like light show over the next week.

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said Impacts from what are known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and the high-speed coronal hole stream (CH HSS) could reach Earth as early as Sunday, with impacts continuing into Friday evening.

Space experts admit that determining the exact strength of the activity is difficult, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects parts of the globe to reach at least level 6 out of 9 on the Kp scale.

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The scale is used to characterize the magnitude of geomagnetic activity, and when values ​​reach at least 7, cities like Seattle and Green Bay, Wisconsin, begin to see high chances of viewing the northern lights if skies are clear and light pollution is low.

So far, during the upcoming event, values ​​are not expected to reach much higher than 4 on the Kp index, which could allow lights to be seen as far south as the US-Canada border if skies are clear.

Cloud cover can prevent visibility, and large portions of the northern United States are expected to be under a fair layer of clouds, as is common during the fall and winter.

A geomagnetic storm watch has been issued

Due to the increased activity, a geomagnetic storm warning was issued prior to the event’s arrival, which warned of potential interference with communications systems and spacecraft operations.

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If NOAA experts believe the event may be stronger than originally expected, the alert may be upgraded to Higher level warning.

During the most significant engineering storms, widespread power outages are possible, and communications systems are vulnerable to failure.

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Geomagnetic storms could become more frequent over the next year, as the Sun begins to move into the maximum solar phase of its 11-year cycle.

The solar cycle is a sequence that the Sun’s magnetic field goes through every 11 years, during which the field reverses.

“Solar magnetic fluctuations regulate the frequency and intensity of space weather events and hazards, which can interfere with the electrical grid, degrade GPS signals, increase orbital drag on satellites, and pose radiation risks to airline crews,” SWPC said. And astronauts.”

Failure to anticipate the strength of the geomagnetic storm in 2022 has been blamed for the loss of more than three dozen SpaceX satellites that became inoperable and burned up in Earth’s atmosphere.

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