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Watch for the Northern Lights During This Week's Solar Storm

March 8, 2012 at 9:53 AM | by | Comments (0)

When traveling, there's all kinds of weather phenomenon to worry about: lightning, high wind, thunderheads and turbulence, tornadoes (ah hem St. Louis Airport), but today the focus is on a solar storm.

A solar storm is a blast of energy released from the sun, which reaches us here on Earth a few days after it's brightened up the sun's atmosphere. A barrage of X-rays and UV radiation hits our atmosphere, disrupting everything from GPS navigation and communication to power grids and plane routes. You won't be able to see the storm—it's an electromagnetic thing—and it won't crash any planes (don't worry), but it will be super interesting for science geeks around the world.

There is one way to experience it, however, both from onboard flights and down on the ground. The increased charges in the atmosphere will enhance the Aurora Borealis and even make it visible from lower latitudes, according to the BBC. We've already said that, yes, the Aurora Borealis is very visible from airplanes in flight, so grab a window seat if you've got a late or red eye flight tonight, or your path takes you anywhere near either of the poles.

Pro tip: If you've got a DSLR camera, make sure you know how to use its low light settings to best capture photos of the Northern Lights.

[Photo: Wikimedia]

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