New Northern Lights observable in a few days?

New Northern Lights observable in a few days?
New Northern Lights observable in a few days?

New Northern Lights could appear in the sky by the end of May.

Last week, the phenomenon, visible in many countries in the northern hemisphere, including France, delighted thousands of people who immortalized it in photos.

Thousands of people are now fascinated by this unique and colorful luminous phenomenon which appears exceptionally in the sky of the Northern Hemisphere. Normally limited to high latitudes, northern and southern lights, generated by solar storms, have recently dazzled a large number of Earthlings with a festival of colors in the night sky as far as Mexico and southern Europe and the ‘Africa.

Last weekend, the Northern Lights caused a sensation. Numerous photos and videos immortalizing them have also been posted on social networks. And according to specialists, the phenomenon could well happen again by the end of May and attract spectators once again…

Visible in two weeks?

So where do these long-awaited events come from? The northern lights that appeared on May 11 and 12 were caused by the most powerful geomagnetic storm since the “Halloween storms”in October 2003, which caused power outages in Sweden and damaged networks in South Africa.

Geomagnetic storms occur when streams of electrically charged particles are expelled from the Sun’s surface and reach the magnetosphere, the Earth’s magnetic field. These particle flows are particularly intense during coronal mass ejections, very strong flares occurring near sunspots. Like the one at the origin of the latest events and a particularly strong eruption last Tuesday.

With the rotation of the Sun, this task is located near the edge of the star, thereby diverting the flow of particles from possible eruptions. But in about two weeks, it will face Earth again.

And in the meantime, a new task “is appearing now”, and could lead “intense activity in the coming days”, Alexi Glover, space weather coordinator at ESA, told AFP on Friday.

Solar activity is “anything but finished”, according to this expert, even if it is difficult to predict the severity of possible eruptions or if they will cause aurora borealis. Astronomers only know that the Sun is approaching a peak of activity in its eleven-year cycle. The risks of a new geomagnetic storm are therefore at their highest “between now and the end of next year”according to Mr. Bettwy of the American Space Weather Prediction Center.


A.S.

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