Solar Flare this August 2010 Happens Tonight, Aurora Borealis is Expected – A solar flare causing aurora borealis or northern lights is scheduled to happen tonight. This will be the second of its kind this August 2010.
According to NASA, the first solar flare (a C3-class solar flare), which caused coronal mass ejection (CME) heading towards Earth’s direction happened August 3, 2010 at around 0855 UT. It was identified that the origin of the blast was the Earth-facing sunspot 1092. The impact of this solar flare sparked a G2-class geomagnetic storm that lasted nearly 12 hours causing the beautiful aurora borealis or northern lights to appear all the way from Europe to North America. Some of the people who have seen it described it as a fire dancing in the sky. Others said that they have seen a rippling dancing “curtains” of green and red light in the sky.
NASA predicts another possible arrival of a second CME tonight, August 4, 2010 which will cause another set of aurora borealis or northern lights. This is another chance for people who were not able to view it last night. For those who want to witness it, you should go to a location where the the sky is clear enough. Be sure also that your location has to be very dark.
NASA explained that Coronal Mass Ejections (or CMEs) are large clouds of charged particles that are ejected from the Sun over the course of several hours and can carry up to ten billion tons (1016 grams) of plasma. It could reach the Earth in just a matter of days. When it reaches the Earth, it interacts with our planet’s magnetic field, potentially creating a geomagnetic storm. Solar particles will then stream down the field lines toward Earth’s poles and collide with atoms of nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere, resulting in spectacular northern lights or aurora borealis displays.