BY | April 15, 2013

The next few days are going to be very enticing. Aurora Borealis tonight are still possible as solar flares 2013 my cause northern lights (photos)

Following the eruption of a massive solar flare on the sun, a major solar storm is headed towards our planet that may create a spectacular display of northern lights, much to the delight of the sky watching enthusiasts. . The mid level flare, being considered to be the largest that has taken place this year, would not have any side effect on either the earth or its inhabitants.

It will take a period of two days for the solar storm caused by the flare that erupted on Thursday. According to the experts, the following the outburst, nearly billions of tons of solar materials is racing through the space and heading towards earth at a speed of over 600 miles per second. Even though the earth’s atmosphere is capable of hindering such material for causing any possible fatal damage to the life on earth, the storm can cause damage to the telephonic and communication systems as well as GPS and radio signals on the earth.

Speaking about the phenomena that takes place once every 11 years NASA’s Alex Young said: “The sun keeps an 11-year solar flare cycle. That is, the sun will undergo a state called solar max in every eleven year. During the period, there will be many small and strong solar flares, which will happen one after the other. There will be many more similar solar flares before the end of the year. Stronger solar flares may also happen and they may send far intense solar storms to earth”.

Astronomer Hunter Outten said: The flare was “impressive”, these are the best conditions for seeing a direct effect on our planet. On the Kp index, the flare has been categorized at 6 to 8. This is a scale for measuring the intensity of a geomagnetic storm. The 6 to 8 rating means that the effects of the radiation will have a greater reach.

The radiation from such a flare may cause radio wave disturbances to electronics such as cell phones, GPS and radios, causing services to occasionally cut in and out. While traveling slower than was originally anticipated, the flare effects are moving towards Earth at 1000 km per second.

The solar burst created frenzy among the media that went berserk reporting about the event. LA Times reported: As per NASA, it was 10 times less powerful than the strongest flares, which are labeled X-class flares. M-class flares are the weakest flares that can still cause effects on Earth. Thursday’s solar flare was responsible for a brief radio blackout.

The solar storms prove to be a boon for the sky watches as it creates spectacular auroras in the sky. These auroras are caused when the discharged energized particles from the sun make contact with the upper atmosphere of earth. However, the effects are greatest at the magnetic poles and weaken as they move south from the Arctic or north of the Antarctic.

Viewing conditions will be best in the mid-Atlantic, Oregon, Ohio Valley, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, parts of northern Europe, including Scandinavia, most of Russia and the British Isles, northern parts of Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Latvia and Estonia.

The southern lights may reach a very small portion of Australia, including Tasmania and the southern coast of Victoria. Most of New Zealand’s South Island is in range for the aurora.

With these auroras taking place just few days before Lyrid meteor showers reach it speak on April 22, its seems that the month of April is bound to end on a good note for the sky watchers.

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