Look Up In The Sky: Solar Flares add to the July 4th Show in the Sky
By Jason Thomas
If you’re lucky enough to live far enough North to see the Northern Lights or far enough South to see the Southern Lights, your July 4th celebrations are going to be fantastic.
A solar flare was released by the Sun on July 2. They are caused by magnetic energy being released suddenly from the Sun’s photosphere. At times, the sudden energy release will cause massive coronal ejections.
Days after a solar flare releases this energy, it will impact Earth. As it slams into the Earth’s magnetosphere, it disrupts and distorts both the flare and the magnetosphere. Our magnetosphere will bounce back into shape, but by doing so releases electrical energy in the terawatt scale freely into the atmosphere.
The process of the impact, disruption, and discharge into the atmosphere creates considerable auroras in the atmosphere. They should occur just about the time we look to the sky and watch for firework displays to celebrate the Fourth of July.
If your Fourth of July firework display looks particularly good this year, it is. It seems nature decided to give celebrations a hand this year.