NASA observatory spots flurry of solar flares
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THERE is still a chance to catch a glimpse of the spectacular Northern Lights for some lucky Britons after a solar storm struck Earth in the early hours this morning, Express.co.uk can exclusively reveal. The G2-level solar storm, also known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), struck the Earth’s magnetic field at around 3:30am this morning. Brought with the solar flare were scenes of the Northern Lights in full display in some parts of the world, and in particular, the North American continent was graced with a stunning solar light show.
Aurora Alerts UK issued a “red alert” this moring when they said that the Northern lights could be spotted in the northern parts of Britain.
So if you are yet to see the Northern Lights grace the UK skies, hope is not lost for those yet to spot the phenomenon.
Mathew Owens, Professor of Space Physics at The University of Reading told Express.co.uk that the next few hours will unveil whether Britons can still catch a peak tonight.
He said that while the storm has already struck, we are not yet sure how events will unfold.
Professor Owens told Express.co.uk: “A CME is like a big eruption from the Sun that comes to Earth.
“It’s a bit like a snowplough in that it pushes all the material ahead of it.
“At the moment the Earth is still sat in those piles of snow ahead and we haven’t really hit the main storm.
“The next few hours will tell us how the storm will develop.”
But over those next few hours, Professor Owens said this is when we will know whether we can spot the Northern Lights, and he told Express.co.uk that a lucky bunch up north might be able to get their cameras ready.
He said: “I don’t think we’ll get it down in the south, but northern Scotland might just catch it.
“It depends what exactly turns up in the next few hours.
“It’s all about the magnetic field inside the solar eruption, and we don’t know which way that’s pointed yet.
“If it’s pointed southward then we may see the storm pick up a little bit and you may be able to see the Northern Lights in the northern end of Scotland and effects of a solar storm can be felt for a day or two typically.”
And new viewers could be in for a real treat.
Last night, eyes were fixed above parts of England’s north, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
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One Twitter user in Orkney, Scotland posted: “Been Aurora watching for a few hours now and all we can see is a green glow at the other side of the clouds. Our watch continues!”
There are hopes that the views will be better this evening.
The Met Office said that the Aurora will probably occur “over much of Scotland and perhaps extend into northern England and Northern Ireland tonight.”
But hopeful viewers should be warned that cloudiness may ruin your chances of spotting the Northern Lights.
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