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Weather forecasting and analysis, space and historic events, climate information

10:00 AM | Incoming solar storm...possible northern lights tonight

Paul Dorian


Several sunspot regions have emerged in recent days during the current solar cycle (#24) and one such region, officially called AR1719, erupted on Thursday morning resulting in a coronal mass ejection (CME) directed towards the Earth. That CME is expected to reach the Earth’s upper atmosphere this evening as it is traveling some 600 miles per second. As a result, northern lights are quite possible across the northern tier of states Saturday night – perhaps as far south as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware where viewing conditions should be quite good. The eruption on the sun Thursday morning was officially classified as an M6-class eruption. Solar flares create auroras when radiation from the sun reaches Earth and interacts with charged protons in our atmosphere. The effects are greater at the magnetic poles and weaken as they move south from the Arctic or north of the Antarctic. The CME emerged from the circled area on the sun early Thursday morning (image on Facebook page).