spaceSpace and Physics

Northern Lights Spectacle Expected During Solar Storm


Dr. Alfredo Carpineti

Senior Staff Writer & Space Correspondent

clockOct 26 2016, 19:57 UTC

Northern Lights in Iceland. Thaiview/Shutterstock

A moderate geomagnetic storm is currently happening around our planet and it is expected to lead to some bright aurorae at high and not-so-high latitudes.

According to the Aurora Forecast by the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, there will be considerable auroral activity, with Northern Lights visible overhead in Minneapolis, Oslo, Helsinki, and Saint Petersburg.


The stunning atmospheric phenomenon might even be visible low on the horizon in Chicago, Dublin, and Moscow.

Aurorae are created by the interaction of our magnetic field with the solar wind, a stream of electrically charged particles ejected by the Sun. These particles are captured by Earth's magnetic field and hit the upper layers of the atmosphere near the poles.

The interaction between these charged particles and the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere generates photons – particles of light – that shine brightly in different colors.



Aurora forecast for tonight. University of Alaska Fairbanks 

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