CM – Strong solar flares could bring northern lights to the Washington, Oregon coast

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(Portland, Oregon) – Scientists from the US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) said the strongest solar flare in recent years did not erupt from the sun until early Thursday and is classified as an X1-class flare – the strongest of them all. The result could be some spectacular aurora borealis sightings along the upper reaches of the Washington coast and possibly as far as the Oregon coast on Friday and Saturday. (Above: Thursday torch caught by NASA)

With clear skies forecast for most of the Oregon coast and the entire Washington coast these nights, a Northern Lights performance could be a memorable one will. However, the southern Oregon coast will remain cloudy and cloudy on these nights, from about Reedsport south to Brookings.

The flare, believed to have also caused a mass coronal ejection (CME), was enough today to disrupt communications in the southern hemisphere. It peaked around 7:30 a.m. West Coast Time.

However, according to Jim Todd, an astronomer at Portland’s OMSI, it is too early to predict an aurora.

« As of now, there are no predictions for possible aurora activity, » Todd told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “When will the CME itself arrive? Suppose it is controlled by Earth, probably on October 30th or 31st. New data from SOHO coronagraphs will provide a more accurate prediction, so stay tuned. ”

The flare caused a significant early Thursday in South America, which was sunlit at the time and had the best and worst effects of the sun Radio failure. It didn’t take long, according to NASA.

SpaceWeather.com said if the northern lights show up here and Earth is on the path of the electromagnetic storm, it could seriously disrupt satellite communications for a period of time.

Solar flares are essentially massive eruptions from the sun’s surface in which radiation emits charged particles into space. With Earth on this path, the result can be many Northern Lights in latitudes far below the Arctic Circle. Flares are divided into a system of letters. The X-class is the strongest, the M-class less and relatively in the middle, and the C-class storms are the weakest.

« An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, and so on, » said NASA. « Flares classified as X10 or greater are considered unusually intense. »

This particular flare came from a sunspot called AR2887, which is generally Earth-facing. It is said to have caused two more flares in the middle area the same day before the big one.

Washington State is generally in a much better position to spot northern lights during such events, and that definitely includes the coastline.

Check out the latest regional weather forecasts in your area for updates on Aurora Borealis forecasts or on SpaceWeather.gov. If you want to photograph the phenomenon, keep in mind that you may not be able to see it with the naked eye. Often you need a camera with a tripod and long exposure times, then you have to check the camera afterwards for any « light curtains ».

The photos above and below were taken by Oregon Coast Beach Connection in the Coast Range and these were sights except not visible from the camera.

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