You may be able to see the aurora from the northern US and UK thanks to a solar storm

Advertisement
You may be able to see the aurora from the northern US and UK thanks to a solar storm
The newly discovered northern lights known as "dunes."YouTube/AGU

  • The Northern Lights were seen in parts of the United States early Wednesday morning.
  • Lights may be seen again in parts of the US and the UK on Wednesday night.
  • A solar storm caused by a coronal mass ejection is behind the aurora.

A rare display of the northern lights was seen in parts of the United States on Wednesday morning and may continue through the night, thanks to a solar storm that struck the Earth's atmosphere.

The aurora - which is caused by charged solar particles striking the Earth's atmosphere - was seen in parts of Alaska, Minnesota, and Washington, as well as parts of Canada, Europe, and the UK, according to The Washington Post and King 5.

Advertisement

Forecasters at the National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center told The Post that the Northern Lights could be seen again in parts of the US on Wednesday night. The Meteorological Office in the UK said the aurora may be seen from northern parts of the country.

The solar storm was caused by a coronal mass ejection (CME), an outburst of plasma and particles.

Storms such as the one that hit Earth this week burst from the sun fairly often. When the particles strike the Earth in the correct way, they become funneled by the Earth's magnetic field toward the north and south poles.

Advertisement

These charged particles excite atoms in the Earth's atmosphere, leading to the dazzling displays of light.

While strong solar storms are common and often harmless, they remain unpredictable and could disrupt satellites and power grids if strong enough.

{{}}