The sun has been spewing out two plasma clouds in the past two days, which could lead to beautiful aurora views that can be seen much further south than usual.
coronal mass ejections (CMEs), bursts of charged particles from the upper atmosphere of the sun known as the corona, it burst out of the sun on August 14 and 15 respectively, according to the British forecaster With Office (opens in new tab). As the CMEs cross the 150 million kilometers distance between the star and our planet, they can cannibalize each other, according to SpaceWeather.com (opens in new tab)creating a single super-powerful CME.
CME cannibalization occurs when the
Sun launches two bursts in a short time, with the second of the two being more energetic and therefore faster than the first.
The double CME is currently expected to reach Earth on Thursday (Aug. 18) and could lead to
Aurora displays that could be visible as far south as New York and the north of England.
Related: Where and how to photograph the aurora
This still from a NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sun amid a series of strong solar flares on August 14-15, 2022. Credit: NASA/SDO
Auroras are a byproduct of
geomagnetic storms caused by interactions between Earth’s magnetic field and the magnetized plasma of the sun. In addition to these mesmerizing phenomena, geomagnetic storms can also cause power outages and disrupt satellite links and radio communications. The UK’s national weather service, Met Office, predicts that the coming geomagnetic storm will be only minor and expects no significant disruption.
There are currently five numbered
sunspot regions on the visible disk of the sun, generate solar flares, bursts of electromagnetic radiation that also affect the Earth. Unlike CMEs, which take up to three days to arrive, solar flares reach the planet at the speed of light, meaning forecasters cannot provide advance warning as the planet experiences the effect the moment the flares start. seen.
In the past 24 hours, there were three moderate-class eruptions from the most active sunspot region, causing minor radio outages, Met Office said. Space weather forecasters expect more eruptions in the coming days. In addition to the two CMEs, there is also some more solar wind pouring out of a coronal hole, which will improve the aurora views expected by the end of this week.
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