Solar flares bring Northern Lights to skies over Britain | Ian Sample

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 14:32 in Astronomy & Space

The aurora may be visible for several nights as Sun storm brewsStargazers in Britain may witness the extraordinary lightshow of the aurora borealis over the next few nights as particles blasted out of the Sun slam into the atmosphere.The rare opportunity to see the celestial spectacle follows a storm on the Sun that has produced the most powerful solar flare in four years.The storm generated at least three solar flares, the most intense of which was detected shortly before 2am Tuesday morning and came from a growing sunspot called 1158.The flares were accompanied by an eruption on the Sun called a cornonal mass ejection that is directed at Earth. These violent eruptions can hurl a billion tonnes of particles into space at a time.Displays of the Northern Lights have already been seen further south than usual, in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK, according to the British Geological Society....

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