Aurora borealis may come to New York, Chicago and Portland very soon

The aurora borealis may be coming to select locations across the United States as our sun experiences an intense series of eruptions.

Published Aug 18, 2022 1:36 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Sep 8 2022 7:59 PM CDT
2 minutes & 3 seconds read time

The aurora borealis may make an appearance in select locations across the United States, according to weather officials.

Aurora borealis may come to New York, Chicago and Portland very soon 01 | TweakTown.com

Activity on the surface of the Sun was recorded by space weather officials from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and according to the officials' warnings, there was a series of intense solar eruptions that launched what is called a coronal mass ejection (CME) at Earth. Officials recorded two CMEs heading towards Earth, accompanied by high levels of solar wind that can be traced back to a corona, or a hole, in the surface of the Sun.

The charged particles from the Sun are expected to hit Earth's magnetic field on Thursday, August 18, which may result in auroras appearing in the night sky at much lower geographical locations than they usually do. Space Weather Prediction Center, which is a branch of the National Weather Service, writes that there is a possibility for auroras to appear as far south as New York, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday night.

Aurora borealis may come to New York, Chicago and Portland very soon 02 | TweakTown.com

Why does an aurora appear when Earth is hit by solar particles? The charged particles from the Sun interact with Earth's magnetic field channels, charging the particles in Earth's atmosphere and creating the gorgeous ribbons of light that make for some pretty magical photographs. When a CME impacts Earth's magnetic field, it causes what is called a geomagnetic storm, which produces these auroras. However, significant CME impacts and severe geomagnetic storms can negatively impact the planet by knocking out radio communications, GPS communications, satellite orbits, space launches, and more.

Current estimates from officials put this coming geomagnetic storm at a G3 category, which is a scale that is between one and five. The most severe warning NOAA gives a geomagnetic storm is G5, which is when power systems will likely be affected. A G3 solar storm NOAA warns that voltage corrects may have to be required, false alarms may be triggered on some devices, and intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur.

Aurora borealis may come to New York, Chicago and Portland very soon 06 | TweakTown.com

Coronal mass ejection (CME) erupting from the sun on August 17, 2022.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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