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According to Live Science (This article and its images were originally posted on Live Science September 11, 2018 at 04:27PM.)
A moderate geomagnetic storm will lash the planet tonight, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) alert released yesterday (Sept. 10).A stream of high-energy particles have escaped through a hole in the sun’s corona and are streaming our way. While a sufficiently severe solar storm would pose a significant threat to modern infrastructure, there’s no reason to worry about this event. It will, however, offer people in parts of the U.S. and Canada a chance to spot rare auroras flickering at relatively low altitudes.
The aurora borealis happens, as Live Science has previously reported, when charged particles from the sun slam into the particles of a region of Earth’s upper atmosphere called the ionosphere. Particles floating between 60 and 600 miles (96 to 960 kilometers) above the planet’s surface absorb energy from those charged particles, and re-emit that energy in the form of colored light. From Earth, the effect looks like towering waves of light dancing across the sky. [Northern Lights: 8 Dazzling Facts About Auroras]
A NOAA map, pictured below, highlights the areas where auroras are most likely to appear during this storm. The region betwen the green line (marked kp=5) and the yellow line (marked hp=7) has the highest chance of aurora activity.
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