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Updated December 18th, 2023 at 21:22 IST

Dazzling Display: Northern Lights to be seen across the US due to Geomagnetic Storm

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center warned that Earth could face more geomagnetic impacts, including a display of the Northern Lights.

Digital Desk
Northern Lights
NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center warned that Earth could face more geomagnetic impacts, including a display of the Northern Lights. | Image:Unsplash
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Days after experiencing the most significant solar flare in six years, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center warned that Earth could face more geomagnetic impacts, including a display of the Northern Lights. The agency issued a Geomagnetic Storm Watch for increased solar activity through at least Sunday, December 17.

Taking to X, formerly known as Twitter, Space Weather Watch wrote, " A CME arrival is disturbing Earth’s magnetosphere and a minor geomagnetic storm is currently in progress. Not so good timing to see auroras in North America, but darkness should fall across Europe soon…"

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Northern lights to be seen in the US

Experts observed multiple coronal mass ejections from the Sun, sending particles of plasma hurtling toward Earth. NOAA stated, “Multiple CMEs from 14 and 15 Dec are likely to cause G1-G2 (Minor-Moderate) geomagnetic storm conditions on 16-17 Dec,” in a Friday update.  

Early indications suggested the event could reach a value of 6 on the Kp index scale, which ranges from 0 to 9. Besides producing auroras, the geomagnetic storm had the potential to impact power grids, spacecraft, and communication equipment. NOAA warned of possible electric transformer damage, and radio signals might be susceptible to fade during a long-duration event.

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In the last report, the event was expected to reach a level of G2 on NOAA’s 5-point scale of geomagnetic activity. An event reaching G2 is considered moderate, but if it reaches G3, the activity would be considered strong with broader impacts. Solar activity, including coronal mass ejections and solar flares, increased as Solar Cycle 25 reached its expected peak in 2024. A solar cycle is a sequence the sun’s magnetic field goes through every 11 years, where the field flips. Solar Cycle 25 began in 2019 and could last until 2030 if predictions are accurate.
 

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Published December 18th, 2023 at 21:22 IST

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