Latest on Solar Flare, Northern Lights Possibilities in Oregon, the Coast
(Oregon Coast) - Jim Todd, planetarium manager at OMSI, said it was a big solar flare that happened yesterday around 5:30 p.m., but three coronal mass ejections (CME) that happened over the course of the last few days have combined into one massive cloud on its way to Earth. Above: northern lights in the Oregon coast range a few years ago.
“Earth's magnetic field is about to receive a glancing blow from three CMEs observed leaving the Sun between October 20th and 22nd,” Todd said. “Forecast models suggest that the three clouds merged en route to Earth, and their combined impact could trigger a mild polar geomagnetic storm on October 24 - 25. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.”
The biggest and most recent blast out of the sun was from Earth-facing sunspot AR1877, which erupted yesterday and produced a powerful M9-class solar flare.
Todd said it's unknown when these effects may hit Earth.
For those in the Portland, Oregon area or on the Oregon coast, chances of seeing any northern lights do not look good, however, because of weather conditions. Tonight and tomorrow are predicted to be either foggy or cloudy on both the Oregon coast and in inland cities like Salem, Eugene, Corvallis or Silverton.
There are possibly more of these on the way, however. Todd said two large sunspots are ready to erupt again. He said NOAA forecasters estimate a 40 percent chance of M-flares and a 5 percent chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours.
Nighttime weather is expected to clear up on the Oregon coast and inland around Monday night, which leaves some possibilities for spotting Aurora Borealis above the state then – if more eruptions happened.
There could be some undesired effects, however.
“Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation,” Todd said. “Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however - when intense enough - they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. Such radiation can disrupt radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.
Todd said increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun is near solar maximum.
“Humans have tracked solar cycles continuously since they were discovered in 1843, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun’s peak activity,” Todd said.
More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....
More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....
LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles
Back to Oregon Coast
Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net