By Jamie Harris, PA Science Technology Reporter
The north of Ireland could catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights on Monday night as a solar storm is expected to reach Earth.
This is thanks to a Coronal Mass Ejection, a massive burst of material from the sun which can cause a phenomenon known as a geomagnetic storm, which interferes with the Earth’s magnetic field.
According to the US Space Weather Prediction Centre, the event could result in power grid fluctuations as well as “orientation irregularities” for spacecraft.
Aurora is possible tonight across Scotland, although increasing cloud cover limits the potential for sightings. There is a slight chance of aurora reaching the far north of England and Northern Ireland tonight, with the best of the cloud breaks likely in Northern Ireland. pic.twitter.com/yDg0hhM8a2
— Met Office Space (@MetOfficeSpace) October 11, 2021
Aurora may be visible as low as New York, to Wisconsin and Washington state. The UK Met Office has said there is a slight chance of moderate class flares across the north of Ireland and Britain too, although cloud is likely to block the view for some.
“Aurora is possible through 11th and 12th across much of Scotland, although cloud amounts are increasing, meaning sightings are unlikely for most,” the Met Office said.
“There is a slight chance of aurora reaching the far north of England and Northern Ireland tonight, but cloud breaks and therefore sightings are more likely in Northern Ireland.”
NOAA has put the storm at category G2, which the agency defines as moderate in strength.