[WIAT – Birmingham] Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, may be seen in many states across North America through Friday. Peak viewing will be Thursday night and some flickers of light could be visible as far south as Kentucky to the Carolinas.
So, what exactly is going on???
A solar flare occurred on the Sun that emitted solar energy and is currently racing through space and being hurled at earth. It’s not doomsday, it just means this ball of magnetic energy will distort Earth’s magnetic field causing a Geomagnetic Storm.
A geomagnetic storm is a temporary disturbance of the Earth’s magnetosphere caused by a solar wind shock wave and/or cloud of magnetic field that interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field.
Geomagnetic Storm Watches are in effect from December 9th – 11th, 2020 due to anticipated Coronal Mass Ejections associated with C7 flare.
Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun’s corona. They expand in size as they propagate away from the Sun. As the CME effects continue, activity is likely to increase, especially if the magnetic field carried with the CME connects well with Earth’s magnetosphere.
Therefore, the potential for strong storm levels exists:
Tonight (December 9th) Minor
Tomorrow (December 10th) Strongest
Friday (December 11th) Moderate
Right now, there is high confidence of a CME arrival at Earth, but much like weather, timing and geomagnetic storm intensity are less certain.
These flares can be so strong that they also disrupt radio signals and satellite frequencies. GPS to HAM radios could have outages to popping noises as a result.