UNITED STATES: Two plasma clouds ejected from the sun in the last two days may have caused stunning aurora displays to be visible considerably farther south than usual.
According to the U.K. forecaster Met Office, the two coronal mass ejections (CMEs), eruptions of charged particles from the sun’s upper atmosphere known as the corona, occurred on August 14 and 15, respectively.
The CMEs may devour one another as they travel the 900,000 miles (150 million kilometers) between the star and our planet, resulting in a single, extremely powerful CME. CME cannibalization tends to happen when the sun produces two eruptions quickly, the second of which is more energetic and hence moves more quickly than the first.
According to the current predictions, the double CME will make its way to Earth on Thursday, August 18, and may cause aurora displays that might be seen as far south as New York and the northern part of England.
Auroras are caused by geomagnetic storms, which are caused by interactions between Earth’s magnetic field and the sun’s magnetized plasma. In addition to other fascinating occurrences, geomagnetic storms can cause power outages, sabotage satellite links, and interfere with radio communications. According to the Met Office, the United Kingdom’s national weather service, the upcoming geomagnetic storm will be mild and will cause little disruption.
The visible disc of the sun now has five numbered sunspot regions, which produce solar flares, and brief bursts of electromagnetic radiation that also have an impact on Earth. Solar flares travel at the speed of light, unlike CMEs, which can take up to three days to reach the planet. As a result, forecasters cannot provide any advance notice because the planet is affected as soon as the flares are seen.
Three moderate-class flares from the sunspot region with the highest activity occurred in the previous 24 hours, resulting in small radio blackouts, according to the Met Office. Over the next few days, further flares are anticipated to take place.
The two CMEs are accompanied by the increased solar wind coming from a coronal hole, which will improve the aurora displays anticipated for this week’s end.
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