Northern lights visible for many tonight - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Northern lights visible for many tonight


WVVA -- On Tuesday, February 25th an X4.9 Class solar flare erupted from an active sunspot on the surface of the sun. This flare was the strongest of the year thus far and is reported as one of the strongest flares of the current solar cycle.

The flare sent what is called a Coronal Mass Ejection, or giant bubbles of gas, plasma and magnetic waves toward the Earth. After such a powerful flare, if it hit the Earth directly, there could have been a number of issues concerning satellites, but instead it delivered 'a glancing blow' according to sources at

The result from this impact is a geomagnetic storm at the Poles, which produce Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Geomagnetic storms are classified by strength on a scale from G1 to G5. The storm currently in effect is a G2, or moderate.

Northern lights will likely be visible for many across northern latitudes Thursday night and Friday morning, but there is a 40% chance for those in lower mid-latitudes to see faint northern lights as well, which includes the country's mid section. In the Two Virginias, we are quite far south and will likely miss the show, but many north of us will likely get a view of some color.

Advice for optimal viewing includes seeking a dark spot away from any artificial light, having a clear, unobstructed view of the sky and to view close to midnight.


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