As Americans throughout the Nation prepare to fire up their grills and load up on fireworks to celebrate Independence Day, the sun may be shooting off some fireworks of its own.
Sunspot AR1515 erupted on July 2 and produced an M5.6-class solar flare that was observed by NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory. According to Spaceweather.com, the M-class flare is a powerful event, eclipsed only by a more extreme X-class solar flare.
Earlier in the week, the solar activity disrupted radio communications over Europe and produced brilliant auroras near the Earth’s magnetic poles.
“On July 1st we enjoyed a beautiful display of aurora australis over the German Antarctic Research Station Neumayer III,” said researcher Stefan Christmann. “The air temperature was -30°C with 10 knots of wind. Even so, this was one of the most beautiful experiences so far.”
The latest eruptions from the sun could send beautiful light shows throughout the sky just as many Americans are preparing to ignite their first fireworks in celebration of their Nation’s founding. Check spaceweather.com and NOAA to see if you can expect auroral activity in your area.
Last year, unusually strong solar storms gave people residing in Southern areas of the United States the unique opportunity to enjoy the light shows in the sky.