Strongest solar storm in 6+ years may bring northern light show

The sun unleashed a huge earth directed Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) Monday. The resulting blast could trigger power and communications disruptions Tuesday, and may put on a light show Tuesday night. The best chance of northern lights may occur in Europe on the “nighttime” side of the planet as the CME strikes earth.

8 aur.jpg

The blast is the strongest flare observed since September 2005.

8 flare.png

More from

“ALMOST-X FLARE AND CME (UPDATED): This morning, Jan. 23rd around 0359 UT, big sunspot 1402 erupted, producing a long-duration M9-class solar flare. The explosion’s M9-ranking puts it on the threshold of being an X-flare, the most powerful kind. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare’s extreme ultraviolet flash:”

And from NOAA:

“In addition to the flare, a Coronal Mass Ejection accompanied the flare. A geomagnetic storm is a near certainty from this event, with G2 (Moderate) levels expected to start around 900 am EST Tuesday, continuing into Wednesday.

This could pose an impact to power grids, where voltage corrections may be required along with false alarms triggered on some protective devices. Intermittent satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation problems may occur.

With strong geomagnetic storms possible, high-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.”

8 soho anim.gif

Sunnier, quieter week ahead:

Today will feel like January should. The clouds will gradually give way to mixed sunshine and temps will hold in the 20s.

A sunnier and milder weather pattern kicks in the rest of the week. Look for highs in the 30s, and that will mean some slushy streets and sidewalks this week.

8 wxs.png


  • Grace

    I’m in 8th grade and I had no clue what you were talking about.

  • Paul

    I learn something new every day from your blog, thanks Paul! I enjoy the depth of discussion and the science of weather that you present.

  • Abdul Gafoor