A powerful flare erupted from the sun Thursday, Jan. 19, unleashing a plasma wave that may supercharge the northern lights for skywatchers in high latitudes this weekend.
The solar flare occurred at about 11:30 am EST (1600 GMT) and touched off a massive solar explosion — known as a coronal mass ejection — aimed at Earth, space weather experts and officials said. The charged particles from the sun explosion should reach Earth by Saturday night (Jan. 21), and could amp up northern lights displays when they hit the upper atmosphere.
Editor's note: Brace yourself for significant earthquakes, eruptions, and severe weather for 8-10 days post-impact.
Learn more about the sun's impact on weather and other natural disasters.