Sun Eruption May Supercharge Northern Lights Friday - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Sun Eruption May Supercharge Northern Lights Friday

Posted: Updated:

YAHOO.COM - A recent solar blast may ramp up northern lights displays this Friday, giving well-placed skywatchers a treat, NASA officials say.

The sun unleashed a huge cloud of superheated plasma Tuesday morning (March 12) in a solar eruption known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). This cloud is not headed straight for Earth, but it could deliver a glancing blow to our planet on Friday (March 15), researchers said.

"There is now a 65% chance of geomagnetic activity on March 15 due to this event," officials wrote Wednesday (March 13) on the Facebook page of NASA's sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. "High latitude watchers — [get] ready for possible Aurorae."

The eruption originated from a sunspot known as Active Region 1690, which at the time was centered on the Earth-facing side of the sun, they added. NASA also released a video of the solar eruption as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Powerful CMEs that hit Earth directly can wreak havoc on our planet, triggering geomagnetic storms that can disrupt radio communications, GPS signals and power grids for days at a time. But Tuesday's eruption is not expected to affect Earth beyond possibly sparking some souped-up aurora displays.

The auroras, which are also known as the northern and southern lights, result when charged particles from the sun collide with molecules high in Earth's atmosphere, generating a glow. The phenomenon is usually restricted to high latitutes because Earth's magnetic field lines tend to funnel these particles over the planet's poles.

Tuesday's eruption notwithstanding, the sun has been pretty quiet recently. That's something of a surprise, because many scientists had predicted that the sun's current 11-year activity cycle — known as Solar Cycle 24 — would peak in 2013.

The lull has spurred some researchers to postulate that Solar Cycle 24 may actually have a double peak — one occurring in 2011, which saw many powerful sun storms, and another coming soon after the sun rouses from its mini-slumber.

  • National NewsMore>>

  • South Korean Ferry Captain Arrested As Hundreds Are Missing And Feared Dead

    South Korean Ferry Captain Arrested As Hundreds Are Missing And Feared Dead

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:38:53 GMT
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank two days ago has been arrested. Yonhap says 68-year-old Lee Joon-seok was detained early Saturday. The ship, the Sewol, sank Wednesday, leaving hundreds missing and feared dead.More >>
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank two days ago has been arrested. Yonhap says 68-year-old Lee Joon-seok was detained early Saturday. The ship, the Sewol, sank Wednesday, leaving hundreds missing and feared dead.
    More >>
  • WATCH: Cell Phone Video Of Sinking Ferry Released As 270 Are Still Missing

    WATCH: Cell Phone Video Of Sinking Ferry Released As 270 Are Still Missing

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:21:35 GMT
    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Searchers have now put markers on the surface of the water where the South Korean ferry went down. Part of the ship had remained above the surface until today, but now the entire vessel is submerged. They're continuing the effort to find some 270 people who are missing and feared dead.More >>
    MOKPO, South Korea (AP) - Searchers have now put markers on the surface of the water where the South Korean ferry went down. Part of the ship had remained above the surface until today, but now the entire vessel is submerged. They're continuing the effort to find some 270 people who are missing and feared dead.
    More >>
  • At Least 13 Sherpas Dead As Avalanche Sweeps Mount Everest

    At Least 13 Sherpas Dead As Avalanche Sweeps Mount Everest

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:10 PM EDT2014-04-18 16:10:21 GMT
    KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) - A Nepalese tourism official says six local guides have been killed and nine more are missing after an avalanche swept a route used to ascend the world's highest peak. Nepal Tourism Ministry official Krishna Lamsal says the avalanche hit just below Mount Everest Camp 2 around 6:30 a.m. Friday.More >>
    KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) - A Nepalese tourism official says six local guides have been killed and nine more are missing after an avalanche swept a route used to ascend the world's highest peak. Nepal Tourism Ministry official Krishna Lamsal says the avalanche hit just below Mount Everest Camp 2 around 6:30 a.m. Friday.
    More >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Two Suspects Arrested: May Be Involved In A String Of Fast Food Robberies In Spokane

    Two Suspects Arrested: May Be Involved In A String Of Fast Food Robberies In Spokane

    Friday, April 18 2014 7:51 PM EDT2014-04-18 23:51:12 GMT
    UPDATE: Two suspects have been arrested in connection to the robbery that occurred Thursday evening at the McDonald's at 2200 W. Wellesley Ave. Major Crimes Detectives are also investigating the possibility these suspects are connected to other robbery incidents.More >>
    UPDATE: Two suspects have been arrested in connection to the robbery that occurred Thursday evening at the McDonald's at 2200 W. Wellesley Ave. Major Crimes Detectives are also investigating the possibility these suspects are connected to other robbery incidents.
    More >>
  • South Korean Ferry Captain Arrested As Hundreds Are Missing And Feared Dead

    South Korean Ferry Captain Arrested As Hundreds Are Missing And Feared Dead

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:38:53 GMT
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank two days ago has been arrested. Yonhap says 68-year-old Lee Joon-seok was detained early Saturday. The ship, the Sewol, sank Wednesday, leaving hundreds missing and feared dead.More >>
    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean news agency Yonhap reports that the captain of the South Korean ferry that sank two days ago has been arrested. Yonhap says 68-year-old Lee Joon-seok was detained early Saturday. The ship, the Sewol, sank Wednesday, leaving hundreds missing and feared dead.
    More >>
  • Gruesome Murder Trial Continues In Spokane; Alex Rozier Reports

    Gruesome Murder Trial Continues In Spokane; Alex Rozier Reports

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:27 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:27:30 GMT
    SPOKANE, WA. – The murder trial for suspected killer Daniel Arteaga continued at the Spokane County Courthouse on Thursday as one of the lead investigators took the stand discussing evidence found the night of Kim Schmidt’s death. Arteaga is on trial for the murder of Schmidt, a 34 year old mother he dated for more than 6 years.More >>
    SPOKANE, WA. – The murder trial for suspected killer Daniel Arteaga continued at the Spokane County Courthouse on Thursday as one of the lead investigators took the stand discussing evidence found the night of Kim Schmidt’s death. Arteaga is on trial for the murder of Schmidt, a 34 year old mother he dated for more than 6 years.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KHQ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.