Did You See It? Rare Northern Lights Spotted in Washington Again
Another Geostorm Produces Northern Lights in Washington State
I was sleeping, but did you see the Northern Lights a few nights ago in Washington State?
Geostorm Lights Up Washington State April 24, 2023
This weekend's Nothern Lights was caused by a full-halo CME on our sun that was observed on April 21, 2023. The event produced mild G1 storms on the 23rd and Moderate G2 storms on the 24th according to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center. The forecast was correct, causing a geomagnetic storm visible from Washington State early on the 24th. The storm was caught and pictures were posted on the Twitter account for Snoqualmie Pass.
Coronal Mass Ejection Travels Fast
The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center saw "On the afternoon of April 23, 2023, at 2:12 PM EDT, a Moderate Solar Flare (M1.7) erupted from the sun expelling a billion tons of superheated magnetized gas from the sun known as plasma." That event is known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and travels at speeds of two million miles per hour. Even at those speeds, it still takes two days for the plasma to reach Earth.
What Issues Can a Solar Flare This Size Cause?
A solar flare around the size we experienced this weekend can cause multiple issues. The report from NOAA says this weekend's storm could have caused " widespread, yet manageable, irregularities to the power grid, spacecraft, global positioning systems, and radio communications."
Another Geostorm is Predicted on April 26-28
There was another solar flare observed on the 24th of April, making Northern Lights possible again from April 26-28. The prediction is for a G1 minor storm with little chance to show up in the lower 48 states. The sun is going through a very active time right now, so if you want to catch Northern Lights, just keep an eye on the storm predictions on the NOAA website. Remember you have two days warning to get ready and play once a solar flare is observed before it hit us and creates another spectacular light show.