Thursday, March 8, 2012

Solar "storm" sends aurora borealis south

When it's okay to directly look at the sun.

The next two days may light up the night sky--if you live in Manhattan, NY.
It's probably the one event storm chasers don't want to chase. But NASA scientists want to study: the solar storm of 2012. On March 6 the sun produced not one, but two solar flares. They are expected to hit the earth today (and maybe tomorrow). It takes about 48 hours to reach earth because we're 93 million miles away from the sun. The particles that hit the earth are called coronal mass ejections (CME). They can create all sorts of havoc--disrupting communication satellites and power grids.

But the interaction of CMEs with Earth’s magnetic field also produces the incredible displays known as the northern lights or aurora borealis. The lights will glow shades of green and red and appear to dance in the sky.

Sometimes storms wreck havoc. Sometimes they produce beautiful images.

SOURCE: Wired Science

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