ROANOKE, Va. – A geomagnetic storm watch was issued by the Space Weather Prediction Center. According to the SWPC, a geomagnetic storm of this magnitude can result in a “Wide area blackout of HF radio communication, loss of radio contact for about an hour on sunlit side of Earth.”
This “storm” comes following a massive solar flare in the direction of Earth that occurred on Monday.
The normal stream of charged particles from Sun to Earth is what leads to the typical sighting of the Northern Lights in high latitudes (electrically charged particles from the sun interact with the earth’s atmosphere). When these extra charged streams occur, however, the Aurora can be seen farther south into parts of the United States.
It’s likely that parts of the northern U.S. will see the Aurora between Wednesday night and Thursday evening. Depending on the actual strength of the geomagnetic storm, however, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks says that the Aurora could be seen low on the horizon “as far south as Carson City, Oklahoma City, and Raleigh.” Under this assumption, that would include our area too.
We’ll keep an eye on this through the next two days and let you know if this becomes more of a possibility. Stay with us for updates!