Sun Eruption May Supercharge Northern Lights Friday - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sun Eruption May Supercharge Northern Lights Friday

Posted: Updated:

YAHOO.COM - A recent solar blast may ramp up northern lights displays this Friday, giving well-placed skywatchers a treat, NASA officials say.

The sun unleashed a huge cloud of superheated plasma Tuesday morning (March 12) in a solar eruption known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). This cloud is not headed straight for Earth, but it could deliver a glancing blow to our planet on Friday (March 15), researchers said.

"There is now a 65% chance of geomagnetic activity on March 15 due to this event," officials wrote Wednesday (March 13) on the Facebook page of NASA's sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. "High latitude watchers — [get] ready for possible Aurorae."

The eruption originated from a sunspot known as Active Region 1690, which at the time was centered on the Earth-facing side of the sun, they added. NASA also released a video of the solar eruption as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Powerful CMEs that hit Earth directly can wreak havoc on our planet, triggering geomagnetic storms that can disrupt radio communications, GPS signals and power grids for days at a time. But Tuesday's eruption is not expected to affect Earth beyond possibly sparking some souped-up aurora displays.

The auroras, which are also known as the northern and southern lights, result when charged particles from the sun collide with molecules high in Earth's atmosphere, generating a glow. The phenomenon is usually restricted to high latitutes because Earth's magnetic field lines tend to funnel these particles over the planet's poles.

Tuesday's eruption notwithstanding, the sun has been pretty quiet recently. That's something of a surprise, because many scientists had predicted that the sun's current 11-year activity cycle — known as Solar Cycle 24 — would peak in 2013.

The lull has spurred some researchers to postulate that Solar Cycle 24 may actually have a double peak — one occurring in 2011, which saw many powerful sun storms, and another coming soon after the sun rouses from its mini-slumber.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • LOOKING FOR A HOME? 10 Homes For Sale In Spokane For $125,000

    LOOKING FOR A HOME? 10 Homes For Sale In Spokane For $125,000

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:56 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:56:12 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is a popular time to purchase and sell a home. Here are 10 homes for sale in Spokane for $125,000. These homes were found on www.WindermereSpokane.com. If you would like more information on any of these homes or would like to schedule a tour, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Spring is a popular time to purchase and sell a home. Here are 10 homes for sale in Spokane for $125,000. These homes were found on www.WindermereSpokane.com. If you would like more information on any of these homes or would like to schedule a tour, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
  • LOOK: 5 Foreclosed N. Idaho Homes For Sale For Under $120,000

    LOOK: 5 Foreclosed N. Idaho Homes For Sale For Under $120,000

    Wednesday, March 12 2014 2:00 PM EDT2014-03-12 18:00:09 GMT
    KHQ.COM - If you are in the market to buy a house you may want to consider looking at these homes that are currently in foreclosure in N. Idaho. These are five homes in multiple areas of N. Idaho that you can get for under $120,000. With a little paint and some elbow grease, many of these homes would be great for those who are looking to flip a home and turn a profit.>>
    KHQ.COM - If you are in the market to buy a house you may want to consider looking at these homes that are currently in foreclosure in N. Idaho. These are five homes in multiple areas of N. Idaho that you can get for under $120,000. With a little paint and some elbow grease, many of these homes would be great for those who are looking to flip a home and turn a profit.>>
  • LOOKING FOR A HOME? Here Are 15 Homes For Sale For $175,000

    LOOKING FOR A HOME? Here Are 15 Homes For Sale For $175,000

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 10:08 AM EDT2014-04-15 14:08:47 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Spring is a popular time for those looking to buy or sell their home! We found 15 homes currently for sale in Spokane and surrounding areas all priced at $175,000. These homes were found on WindermereSpokane.Com for more information on a particular property, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
    KHQ.COM - Spring is a popular time for those looking to buy or sell their home! We found 15 homes currently for sale in Spokane and surrounding areas all priced at $175,000. These homes were found on WindermereSpokane.Com for more information on a particular property, contact your real estate agent with the correct MLS number.>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Vietnam Sentences American Man To Death For Heroin

    Vietnam Sentences American Man To Death For Heroin

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:48 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:48:39 GMT
    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - State media say a court in Vietnam has sentenced an American to death for heroin trafficking. The Liberated Saigon newspaper says Jason Dinh, 41, was convicted of trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin at a one-day trial by Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court on Tuesday.>>
    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) - State media say a court in Vietnam has sentenced an American to death for heroin trafficking. The Liberated Saigon newspaper says Jason Dinh, 41, was convicted of trafficking 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of heroin at a one-day trial by Ho Chi Minh City's People's Court on Tuesday.>>
  • Family Sues N.J. District Over 'Under God' In Pledge Of Allegiance

    Family Sues N.J. District Over 'Under God' In Pledge Of Allegiance

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:21 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:21:31 GMT
    A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.
    FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children.>>
    FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) - A family is suing a New Jersey school district, contending that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance discriminates against atheist children. The lawsuit against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District was filed in state court last month and was announced yesterday by the American Humanist Association. >>
  • South Korean Ferry: 113 Now Confirmed Dead, 190 Still Missing

    South Korean Ferry: 113 Now Confirmed Dead, 190 Still Missing

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:29 AM EDT2014-04-22 14:29:47 GMT
    JINDO, South Korea (AP) - As more bodies are recovered from a sunken South Korean ferry, the number of confirmed dead has reached 113, with about 190 people still missing. Meanwhile, four crew members who are accused of abandoning the ship and failing to protect the passengers have been arrested, three days after warrants were issued for the captain and two other crew members.>>
    JINDO, South Korea (AP) - As more bodies are recovered from a sunken South Korean ferry, the number of confirmed dead has reached 113, with about 190 people still missing. Meanwhile, four crew members who are accused of abandoning the ship and failing to protect the passengers have been arrested, three days after warrants were issued for the captain and two other crew members.>>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD? Authorities Say Missing Burien Teen May Be In Spokane Area

    HAVE YOU SEEN THIS CHILD? Authorities Say Missing Burien Teen May Be In Spokane Area

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:18:18 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- The King County Sheriff's Office and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believe that a missing 15-year-old boy may be in the Spokane area. >>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- The King County Sheriff's Office and The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children believe that a missing 15-year-old boy may be in the Spokane area. Authorities say 15-year-old Jacob Hays of Burien was last seen on April 3, 2014. He is white with brown hair and brown eyes. He's 5'10" and weighs 160 pounds. >>
  • Puzzling Rare Birth Defects In Eastern Washington; Health Dept. Investigating

    Puzzling Rare Birth Defects In Eastern Washington; Health Dept. Investigating

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:15 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:15:39 GMT
    YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - The state Health Department is trying to find the cause of an unusually high number of rare birth defects in south-central Washington.>>
    YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - The state Health Department is trying to find the cause of an unusually high number of rare birth defects in south-central Washington.
    >>
  • Washington School Bus Driver Accused Of Bullying

    Washington School Bus Driver Accused Of Bullying

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:04 AM EDT2014-04-23 15:04:45 GMT
    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A school bus driver in Olympia, Wash., has been placed on leave while the school district investigates accusations that he bullied a developmentally disabled 14-year-old girl.>>
    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A school bus driver in Olympia, Wash., has been placed on leave while the school district investigates accusations that he bullied a developmentally disabled 14-year-old girl.
    >>