The northern lights are visible in most of the US due to solar storms

A severe solar storm is expected to supercharge the Northern Lights on Friday, with auroras as far south as Alabama in the US, according to forecasts.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center said Thursday that a series of solar flares and eruptions from the sun could trigger severe geomagnetic storms and “spectacular displays of aurora” on Earth from Friday evening into the weekend.

This is the first severe geomagnetic storm observation Released by the company Since 2005.

“We have a rare event on our hands,” said Shawn Dahl, service coordinator for the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. “We’re a little concerned, we haven’t seen this in a long time.”

Satellite and grid operators have been notified to prepare because strong geomagnetic storms have the power to disrupt communications and power grids on Earth, as well as satellites in space, Dahl said.

Forecasters predict the storm will make landfall around 8pm ET on Friday.

“We’re tight-lipped about the timing of these events because we’re talking about something 93 million miles away,” Dahl said, referring to the distance from the Sun to Earth.

A NASA spacecraft orbiting about 1 million miles from Earth, called the Advanced Mixture Explorer, will help forecasters measure the solar wind and better understand the timing and potential effects.

The northern lights, or aurora borealis, come from charged particles emitted from the sun during solar storms. The colorful scenes are created when these clouds of energetic particles collide with Earth’s magnetic field and interact with atoms and molecules in the planet’s upper atmosphere.

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The northern lights usually light up the night sky at high latitudes, but during periods of intense solar activity, they can be seen farther south than usual.

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