Sun Eruption May Supercharge Northern Lights Monday

Sun Eruption May Supercharge Northern Lights Monday
A view of Earth's dazzling auroras as seen by astronaut Doug Wheelock on the International Space Station on Sept. 5, 2010. (Image credit: Astro_Wheels)

The luminous aurora displays that make up Earth'snorthern lights may get a boost tonight (Sept. 13) from a weekend solar eruption.

Skywatchers in the northern latitudes could see dazzlingauroras as a result of the sun eruption that occurred late Friday, according, a website that monitors solar weather. [AmazingAurora Photos]

The eruption was a coronal mass ejection that was notaimed directly at Earth but was expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth'smagnetic field, said. It could amplify the aurora displays forskywatchers in parts of Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Greenland and Scandavia, thewebsite added.

Coronalmass ejections are huge eruptions of plasma into space.When aimed at Earth, the solar particles stream down the planet's magneticfield lines toward the poles.

The Sept. 10 sun eruption was observed by NASA's SolarDynamics Observatory, the agency's twin Stereo spacecraft and the Solar HeliosphericObservatory, all of which are constantly studying the sun.

Severe solarstorms can cripple satellites and potentially knock outpower grids on Earth.

Friday's coronal mass ejection came two days after anotherpowerfulsolar flare.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: Staff
News and editorial team is the premier source of space exploration, innovation and astronomy news, chronicling (and celebrating) humanity's ongoing expansion across the final frontier. Originally founded in 1999, is, and always has been, the passion of writers and editors who are space fans and also trained journalists. Our current news team consists of Editor-in-Chief Tariq Malik; Editor Hanneke Weitering, Senior Space Writer Mike Wall; Senior Writer Meghan Bartels; Senior Writer Chelsea Gohd, Senior Writer Tereza Pultarova and Staff Writer Alexander Cox, focusing on e-commerce. Senior Producer Steve Spaleta oversees our space videos, with Diana Whitcroft as our Social Media Editor.