4 large incoming solar bursts could supercharge the auroras this weekend


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) has bumped up this weekend’s geomagnetic storm watch to a level G 4, the second highest on the scale. The change comesas solar activity continues at high levels and at least four coronal mass ejections (CMEs) propel toward Earth.

According to the NOAA’s SWPC, to have a watch at this level is rare, but it is indeed issued when there’s a high likelihood that several CME’s will reach Earth and create “highly elevated” geomagnetic activity. As we’ve reported lately, it’s been pretty busy in space within the last week. But most recently, numerous high-level solar flares and their associated CMEs from several sunspot regions have been seen increasing, which has also upped the potential effects of this solar activity. Late Friday into Saturday, these events may not only affect space, but also Earth in terms of our satellite communication systems and, yes, whether auroras will be visible.

Information about May 11th’s geomagnetic storm watch, courtesy of the NOAA. (Image credit: NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC))

The NOAA defines CMEs as an “eruption of solar material,” and as they approach our planet, we can experience a geomagnetic storm. With this particular event, the CMEs are expected to merge as they near Earth and could arrive as early as late Friday (May 10). The NOAA Space Weather Scale helps communicate to the public what impacts we could see from space weather conditions both across the planet and when it comes to anything in low earth orbit (LEO). 

Leave a Comment