Northern Lights could be visible as geomagnetic storm expected to reach Earth

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The Northern Lights may be visible over parts of the UK on Monday and Tuesday as a solar storm is expected to reach Earth.

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The Met Office said lights were expected to be visible over much of Scotland, much north of England and Northern Ireland, although cloudy weather is expected.

It is caused by a coronal mass ejection, an ejection of massive amounts of material from the Sun that can cause a phenomenon known as a geomagnetic storm, which interferes with Earth’s magnetic field.

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The storm is classified as a G2 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a US scientific and regulatory agency, meaning it is of moderate strength.

Tom Kers, astronomer and author of Northern Lights: The Definitive Guide to Auroras, said the storm is unlikely to cause any disruption in the UK due to strong weather forecasting and electrical engineering.

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“We wouldn’t expect to lose power or explode any transformers or anything to do with a storm of this magnitude, but it’s possible for solar super storms from about 150 years ago to cause widespread disruption — we’re just kind of lucky.” That it hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

The aurora is also expected to be less visible as New York, to Wisconsin and Washington state and, according to the US Space Weather Prediction Center, will result in power grid fluctuations as well as “orientation irregularities” to the spacecraft. “It could be too.

Despite the prospect of clouds, Mr. Kers urged people to look for light.

He said: “Unfortunately I think cloud cover is going to be a bit of an issue for Scotland tonight, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go if you have a clear patch.

“It probably has pockets of increased energy, so it could increase performance each time, and that means it’s very possible that the aurora will actually reach the north of England and perhaps even as far south as Belfast or Omagh – Not too far south, but they can be seen over the sea from anyone looking north in the north of England.”

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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