Chance of Northern Lights in Denmark tonight – The Post

Chance of Northern Lights in Denmark tonight

Solar activity indicates possibility of plasma streams

December 5th, 2014 3:16 pm| by admin
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The Northern Lights could potentially be seen in Denmark over the next 24 hours, Videnskab.dk reports.

There are currently a high number of sunspots visible on the sun’s surface, of which the largest two can be seen near the centre, meaning that they are pointing in Earth’s direction. And it is likely they will erupt soon, sending streams of plasma, creating perfect conditions for the phenomenon.

Researchers estimate there is a 50 percent chance of the sunspots erupting before Saturday afternoon, meaning there is a good chance of the Northern Lights occurring in the polar regions and a small chance of them being visible in Denmark.

Bad news for satellites
Sunspots are dark areas where the sun’s magnetic field is particularly strong. They are numbered so that their growth can be tracked – the two large spots currently observed have been dubbed AR2221 and AR2222. Eruptions are called solar flares.

Solar flares are classified in three categories: C, M and X (C being the weakest and X being the strongest).  Eruptions from AR2221 and AR2222 would result in M-category bursts.

As well as the spectacle of the Northern Lights, solar flares can also pose problems for satellites.

The development of the sunspots can be seen in an animation from Spaceweather.com here.