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Solar Storm Could Bring Northern Lights to UK and US this Weekend

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A significant solar storm approaching Earth may offer the chance for people in the UK and parts of the US to witness the stunning Northern Lights over this weekend.

The Met Office has issued a rare severe geomagnetic storm (G4) warning for the UK, with the potential for striking displays of aurora borealis visible across Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England, and Wales.

Krista Hammond, the Space Weather Manager at the Met Office, highlighted the multiple coronal mass ejections expected to reach Earth in the coming days, particularly on Friday night, which could enhance the visibility of the Northern Lights.

Stephen Dixon, a spokesperson for the Met Office, mentioned that clear skies and enhanced solar activity aligning may improve the likelihood of catching a glimpse of the aurora borealis, potentially extending to parts of the southern UK.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced a rare geomagnetic storm watch for the US, with the potential for auroras to be visible as far south as Alabama and California due to solar activity.

The Space Weather Prediction Center reported that the solar storm, marked as a G4 storm, resulting from solar flares and coronal mass ejections, is set to affect Earth from Friday into Sunday.

While the spectacular light show may excite observers, the potential impact of the storm on power grids and satellites is a concern, as demonstrated by past events in Sweden and South Africa during similar geomagnetic storms.

The NOAA advised that the best chances to witness the Northern Lights lie in northern regions of the US, Canada, and northern Europe, away from city lights, with clear skies forecasted over the central and western US on Friday.

Rachel Adams

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