Massive solar storm could trigger Auroras in northern US states

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Auroras driven by a solar storm may be visible over some northern U.S. states Sunday if the skies are dark and clear.

On Thursday, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) issued a statement that a moderate-strength geomagnetic storm is "high" likely.

The solar storm, if it takes place, will be driven by a  known phenomenon named coronal hole high-speed stream (CH HSS).

This is heapen when a flow of charged particles from the sun is released from a region of its atmosphere cooler and less dense than the surrounding plasma, or highly ionized gas.

The open structure of these regions, called coronal holes, facilitates the ejection of charged particles into space as high-velocity streams.

When this current reaches the earth, it can disturb the earth's atmosphere and magnetic field, affecting modern technology.

This solar activity can cause increased atmospheric loading on satellites, wireless communication failures, and power grid problems. This disturbance is called a geomagnetic storm.

Depending on the strength of the storm, auroras can sometimes be seen in parts of the U.S. where they might not normally be visible.

According to SWPC, in a storm as strong as Sunday's forecast, the aurora could appear as low as New York and Idaho.

Sunday's storm is estimated to have a Kp-index of around 6 out of 9, though it could be lower.

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