The Northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, have been seen as far south as Colorado and Georgia this week thanks to solar flares erupting on the surface of the sun.
"Three coronal mass ejections over the past few days have erupted and have made their way to Earth to cause a G4 (severe) geomagnetic storm on Monday afternoon," The Washington Post reported
. "G4 storms are the second-highest on the five-point severity scale."
"In addition, there is an S3
(strong) solar radiation storm occurring, filling the polar caps with charged particles . . . In tandem, these two space weather storms — the geomagnetic storm and the solar radiation storm — will drive the auroras to lower latitudes over the next few days."
Seasoned star-gazers recommend that anyone seeking to view the Northern lights find a dark place away from the light pollution of cities, and simply look north.
To help amateur astronomers find the best possible time to go out, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also created an easy-to-use online tool
that can determine the best 30-minute viewing window for any given location.
In Washington D.C., for example, the sun will set around 8:30 p.m. local time, but the best viewing of the aurora will begin around 10 p.m.
While the Northern lights are sure to delight many, the electromagnetic solar flare bursts have also been known to cause hiccups and disruptions to power grids, radio transmissions, and satellite orientation.
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