Solar coronal mass ejections causing activity in the sky

If there is one night to watch the northern lights, tonight could be that night.

The Backyard Astronomer, Gary Boyle explains with the sun being a very active star that goes through periods of solar minimum and solar maximum every 11 years.

Over the past week there have been a couple of sunspots that have created solar flares and solar coronal mass ejections with two of them moving towards earth with one moving at speed of 667 km/hr and another one travelling at a speed of 841 km/hr.

A coronal mass ejection is an eruption from the sun’s surface that can contain a billion tons of matter accelerated to several million miles per hour into space.

With the two solar coronal mass ejections moving towards the earth, a G-3 geomagnetic storm could develop, which can cause disruptions to power grid and communications networks.

Boyle pointed out on Wednesday evening, ham radio operators were blocked out due to the geomagnetic storm.

The magnetic storm could add more life to the northern lights this evening says Boyle. “It could last for ten minutes, it could last all night long, sometimes you have the beautiful curtains that flow like drapes in the wind.” Boyle added “They’re usually green in colours, sometime you get red and that’s the oxygen being ionized at different levels.”

-Photo by Larry Hubich-

More from Play92