Earth gets an extra week to prepare for Halloween as National Weather Service forecasts aurora borealis possibility
Elongated green, red and purple streaks dot the eastern horizon as a powerful geomagnetic storm rages on the surface of the sun.
On October 31, these surges can produce the spectacle known as the Northern Lights.
This is potentially some of the earliest light show for millions of people in the far north, an unusually early celestial occurrence for a weekend.
“This is the most active solar storm we’ve had for quite some time,” said Tracy Connor, vice president of professional services for the American Geophysical Union. “We’re starting to see it come down to the Earth.”
The National Weather Service (NWS) is tracking the Aurora Borealis (or “the North Stars”) and extreme weather warnings for November 3 to November 11 across Alaska, northern Canada and much of the American Midwest.
Large geomagnetic flares can severely damage satellites in space and risk blackouts, but impact Earth’s north and south poles during brief and minor storms.
Earlier this month, intense activity from an 8.6-magnitude solar flare occurred within a cloud of plasma that leaves the solar surface and enters Earth’s atmosphere, according to the NWS.
Current forecasts indicate that a geomagnetic storm will occur on Halloween and could be strong enough to dim aurora borealis, potentially presenting a greater display for the early morning of 31 October.
“We’ve had at least two of these in the last week and both of them have produced the possibility of seeing some aurora,” Connor said.