Northern lights surprise several regions of Quebec

Northern lights surprise several regions of Quebec
Northern lights surprise several regions of Quebec

At the time of writing these lines, the phenomenon was intense that it was possible to see auroras in Greater Montreal as well as in Estrie.

In the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a geomagnetic storm alert of rare intensity when a solar explosion reached Earth Friday afternoon, a few hours earlier than expected. The effects were expected to last through the weekend and possibly into next week.

NOAA urged operators of power plants and orbiting spacecraft to take precautions.

“Most people on planet Earth won’t have to do anything,” reassured Rob Steenburgh, a scientist at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

In 2003, an extreme geomagnetic storm caused a power outage in Sweden and damaged electrical transformers in South Africa.

According to NOAA, even after the storm passes, signals between GPS satellites and ground receivers could be jammed or lost. But there are so many navigation satellites that the outages shouldn’t last long, Steenburgh noted.

The sun has produced strong solar flares since Wednesday, resulting in at least seven plasma explosions. Each flare – known as a coronal mass ejection – can contain billions of tons of plasma and magnetic field from the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona.

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