New Northern Lights expected this Sunday, will we be able to see them?

New Northern Lights expected this Sunday, will we be able to see them?
New Northern Lights expected this Sunday, will we be able to see them?


Maxime T’sjoen

Published on May 12, 2024 at 5:22 p.m.

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For the second night in a row, curious people from around the world tried to see the northern lights setting the sky ablaze on Saturday, caused by a solar storm described as “historic” and which should continue this Sunday, May 12, 2024.

Why do we see the Northern Lights?

Conditions linked to a level 5 geomagnetic storm, the maximum level on the scale used, were observed Friday evening then again Saturday morning, according to the American Oceanic and Atmospheric Observing Agency (NOAA). A first in 20 years.

These powerful solar storms can “push auroras to more southern latitudes,” the space agency explained. Hence the fact that we were able to see the Northern Lights, which we cannot usually observe.

Solar flares called coronal mass ejections, which can take several days to reach Earth, are causing the current event, creating aurora borealis when they come into contact with Earth’s magnetic field.

An incredible spectacle on the night from Friday to Saturday

This rare event allowed residents of many countries to observe superb northern lights on the night of Friday to Saturday, photos of which illuminated in blue, orange or pink flooded social networks.

During the night from Saturday to Sunday, some Internet users were able to see a few auroras, but much less than the day before. And this Sunday then?

” A new very big storm is on the wayarrival scheduled for today,” wrote Eric Lagadec, astrophysicist at the Côte d’Azur Observatory, around 9 a.m. What gives us a little hope?

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Level 4 Storm

A storm watch warning of Level 4 or higher is issued for Sunday, and Level 3 conditions are possible through Monday, according to the SWPC, which called the episode “historic.”

But these events are hard to anticipateand depend on many parameters, notably the position of the magnetic field, explained Fabrice Mottez, editor-in-chief of the journal “Astronomy”, researcher (CNRS) at the Paris Observatory, in this article.

On Nevertheless, new coronal mass ejections seem expected, according to the same account.

Caution is required. The intensity of an episode is only known “three hours before, at the last moment”, Fabrice Mottez told us this Saturday.

What do you need to know to avoid missing them?

There’s no secret to hoping to see one: a dark place, without too much urban lighting or clouds, with a clear view to the north.

And to photograph them, place your phone or camera on a stand, to take long breaks. You will probably also have to be patient.

With AFP.

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