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A solar storm triggered increased aurora activity on Earth this week

Energy released in a solar storm led to increased aurora activity in Earth's atmosphere on Thursday and Friday.
A solar storm triggered increased aurora activity on Earth this week
Posted at 3:20 PM, Dec 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-01 17:21:05-05

This week, a solar storm caused large explosions of solar plasma and magnetic energy from the surface of the sun into space — an event known as a coronal mass ejection. 

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center said Friday these ejections are now affecting Earth.

The first visible and electromagnetic effects of a solar flare reach observers on Earth at the speed of light, which means they were spotted about eight minutes after they occurred on the surface of the sun on Tuesday. At the time, the flare caused brief interruption in shortwave communications across parts of the planet.

The actual mass of the coronal mass ejection is now interacting with Earth's own magnetic field, the Space Weather Prediction Center said Friday.

During these geomagnetic storms, the plasma and magnetic energy from the sun can cause heating and magnetic disturbances in the upper atmosphere, and cause glowing auroras that can be seen from the ground. 

In a post on X, the Space Weather Prediction Center told the public that this storm is not a cause for concern for anyone on Earth.

The center said some people might be able to see an extension of aurora activity, which would be visible at night under clear conditions.

It said it had warned infrastructure operators to be ready for the possibility of more niche impacts, including minor power grid fluctuations and possible poor performance from GPS satellites.

SEE MORE: Some states might be able to see the northern lights Sunday night


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