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The Sun is Letting Loose Some Flares – Aurora Possible?

solar flare
AR1877 solar flare. (NASA/SDO)
There’s a possibility of auroras for the next few nights.

On October 23 at about 8:30 p.m., Earth-facing sunspot AR1877 erupted, producing a powerful M9 class solar flare. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the blast.
Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. X-class flares are the largest, M-class flares are medium-sized, and C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.

Remember, the Sun is 93 million miles away, so it takes time for the energy waves to reach Earth. It also depends on which way the Sun was facing when the eruption happens. Often, the Earth is not in the path of the energy released by the flare.
The Sun has been active this week. Three Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), associated with the flares, were noted between Oct. 20th and 22nd. Their combined impact could trigger a mild polar geomagnetic storm on Oct. 24-25. Sky watchers should be alert for auroras, mainly north of Montana.

And, the blast from AR1877 (see photo) should arrive this weekend. Clear, dark skies could coincide with some colors from the auroras. It’s not a guaranteed thing, but it’s always worth a look.

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