Solar flare could intensify Northern Lights

9:39 PM, Jan 9, 2014   |    comments
Image of the sun on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, from the Solar X-Ray Imager on NOAA's GOES satellite, taken just after the maximum emission of a solar flare. The eruption came from the middle of the sun and is directed toward Earth. This is the largest solar flare so far this year. (Photo courtesy of NOAA)
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One of the largest solar flares in the last 10 years could intensify the Northern Lights, otherwise known as the Aurora Borealis.

The solar flare happened earlier this week and will help bring the Northern Lights as far south as Seattle on Thursday and Friday. The flare was an X-class, which is the most intense type of flare and was as wide as seven Earths.

Solar flares can affect satellites, communication technology and even astronauts in space. Due to the flare, NASA had to postpone the launch of a private cargo mission to the International Space Station on Tuesday. NASA said the astronauts on the ISS are not in danger.

Although the affects of the flare are felt in space, they can't make it through the Earth's atmosphere except to provide a beautiful view of the Northern Lights.


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