Solar Storm May Supercharge Weekend Northern Lights
by Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior Writer
Date: 13 July 2012 Time: 11:05 AM ET
|An X1.4 class
flare erupted from the center of the sun, peaking on July 12, 2012 at
12:52 PM EDT. It erupted from Active Region 1520 which rotated into view
on July 6.
A massive solar eruption may trigger an exceptional weekend northern lights display, perhaps bringing the phenomenon into view as far south as California and Alabama, a NASA scientist says.
The sun unleashed an X-class solar flare — the most powerful type — at 12:52 p.m. EDT (1652 GMT) on Thursday (July 12). The storm also triggered a huge eruption of solar plasma known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME, which is now streaking directly toward Earth at roughly 3 million mph (5 million kph).
The CME is expected to hit our planet at 6:20 a.m. EDT (1020 GMT) Saturday (July 14), plus or minus seven hours, according to researchers with the Space Weather Lab at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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