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Solar Flare Could Bring Northern Lights This Weekend

Protect electronics from huge solar eruption by unplugging computers, phones Saturday morning.

An unusually huge solar flare is sending charged particles racing to the earth with a possibility of disrupting power grids and impacting GPS satellites.

But on the upside, it could also result in the Northern Lights to be seen throughout the US this weekend, according to a report on SPACE.com

The massive flare erupted Thursday just after noon, releasing solar plasma that is racing to earth at three million mph.

A similiar-sized flare was produced on the sun in March.

The burst is expected to hit the earth at 6:20 a.m. Saturday plus or minus seven hours, according to researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

The flare's arrival will likely create moderate to severe geomagnetic storms in the atmosphere, which experts believe may cause temporary disruptions to GPS signals, radio communications and power grids.

On-line sites and techno-followers advise that tonight is a good time to back-up computer data and not to keep computers or other devises plugged into electrical outlets.

Those same geomagnetic storms do generate dramatic aurora displays, which are also known as the northern lights.

The northern lights are usually restricted to high latitutes because Earth's magnetic field lines tend to funnel these particles over the poles.

Gayle M. Montgomery September 13, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I'm playing email catchup and reading Patch articles I missed. Those who have an interest in CMEs that cause aurora my wish to sign up for the free newsletters on SpaceWeather.com. http://spaceweather.com/ They have great images.

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