Following the biggest solar flare recorded on the sun in four years, scientists at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center have issued an alert: The sky could get very pretty this evening.
"The first interplanetary shock, driven by the CME from Sunday, is expected any time. Soon thereafter, the shock from Monday evening's R3/CME is due. Look for G1-G2 (and maybe periods of G3 if the following shock compresses and enhances the CME magnetic field)," NOAA said in a statement. "Geomagnetic storming should persist 24-48 hours."
With increased aurora activity expected in the upper atmosphere as a result of the solar winds, many people are wondering just how far south the typically northern show will be visible.
Residents of the United Kingdom are in luck. According to the British Geological Survey, auroras have already been seen farther south than normal. Northern Ireland, for instance, saw the lights, and much of England is also anticipating what is promised in tonight's sky, The Guardian reported.
In Canada, where the northern lights are a common occurrence, tonight's event is expected to be especially visible, the CBC reported.
In the United States, portions of the Great Lakes and New England are expected to be treated to the show, MassLive.com reported, though those who live in rural areas will have a better chance at seeing the auroras. Residents of New York state may also see the northern lights, the New York Daily News reports. Given that the moon is nearly full and lighting up the sky, astronomers are advising heading outside before our celestial neighbor has a chance to rise.
Here's a handy video from our friends at the BBC on a northern light spectacular witnessed in 2009.
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