October 30, 2021, 5:09 a.m. PDT
Bob D’Angelo Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A large solar flare may have caused the Northern Lights to put on a spectacular show during Halloween weekend for some U.S residents.
According to The Washington Post, the flare that erupted on Thursday could cause the aurora borealis, as well as other northern lights, to become visible in the United States and Europe.
CNN reported that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center, Boulder, Colorado, issued a G3, “strong” geomagnetic thunderstorm watch for this weekend. G1, which is a minor storm, starts the scale for geomagnetic thunderstorms and reaches G5, which is an extreme storm.
According to the Post, a G3 storm can cause displays of the Northern Lights visible as far as Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Oregon. CNN reported that the Northern Lights may be visible from Portland to New York City depending on weather conditions. It may also be visible from Oklahoma City, North Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina.
According to the Post, solar flares are caused by sunspots that reflect sunlight off the sun’s surface. According to the newspaper, X-rays, and other high-energy particles, are emitted in all directions when a solar flare is formed.
Thursday’s solar flare was caused by NOAA active region 2887. This large group of sunspots has been mapped by scientists, according to the Post.
According to the newspaper, the best place to view the bright lights is in an area with a clear view of the northern horizon.