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Solar flare heading to Earth may create spectacular aurorae

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WASHINGTON (BNS): Skygazers in the coming two days may expect some spectacular celestial display in the evening sky when charged particles ejected from the Sun enter Earth’s atmosphere to create magical aurorae.

Earth orbiting satellites have detected a C3 class solar flare, which according to astronomers, is smaller than X and M-class flares. The flare, originated from the Earth-facing sunspot 1092, has spawned a coronal mass ejection (CME) heading in Earth’s direction, according to NASA.

The CMEs are large clouds of charged particles ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours and can carry up to ten billion tons (1016 grams) of plasma. They expand away from the Sun at speeds as high as a million miles an hour. A CME can make the 93-million-mile journey to Earth in just three to four days.

When a CME reaches Earth, it interacts with the planet’s magnetic field, potentially creating a geomagnetic storm. Solar particles stream down the field lines toward Earth’s poles and collide with atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere, which results in spectacular auroral displays.

On the evening of August 3rd/4th, skywatchers in the northern US and other countries should look toward the north for the rippling dancing “curtains” of green and red light, NASA said.


Earth  Sun  aurora  
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