This week, the Northern Lights could go further south and reach the US continent
Strong geomagnetic storm this week may make the Northern Lights visible on the U.S. mainland, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The aurora borealis, also referred to as the northern lights, usually occurs closer to the North Pole, close to Canada and Alaska.
However, if the weather is right, the storm might bring the aurora farther south on Thursday and Friday, making them visible in parts of Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon.
What takes place throughout a geomagnetic storm?
A coronal hole (the dark patches on the sun) causes strong winds to develop during the storm, which in turn causes coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. Plasma and bits of the sun's magnetic field are launched into the atmosphere by a CME.
The storm began on Sunday and is anticipated to reach its peak strength on Thursday at a G3 level (the highest rating for storm intensity is G5) before ending on Friday.
The majority of CMEs that have been emitted from the sun are "likely to have little to no influence at Earth," according to the NOAA, but at least four of them may have components that are Earth-directed.
The sun's activity is erratic, and occasionally the disruptions are severe enough to drag the magnetic field of the Earth away from our planet.
But when released, the magnetic field snaps back like a taut rubber band, and the force of that rebound generates strong waves called Alfvén waves 80,000 miles above the surface. The magnetic pull of Earth causes those waves to move more quickly as they approach closer to it.
These incredibly fast Alfvén waves occasionally carry electrons, which can travel at speeds of up to 45 million miles per hour as they hurtle downward.
Think about surfing, advised Wheaton College assistant physics professor Jim Schroeder, who oversaw the process's study. "We discovered that electrons were surfing.
To surf, you need to paddle up to the correct speed for an ocean wave to pick you up and accelerate you. They would be snatched up and accelerated if they were travelling relative to the wave at the proper speed.
What to do to see the aurora
To see auroras, you don't need any specialised tools.
Choose a location with less light pollution.
If you can, ascend to a higher elevation.
Look At The Forecast For Any Indications Of Clouds Or Precipitation That Might Obscure Your View.
While They Are Named For The Northern Hemisphere, They Can Appear From Anywhere.