New Year's Geomagnetic Storm: Sunspot Fires off Another FlareBy Russell Westerholm, UniversityHerald Reporter
The sunspot that produced a geomagnetic storm on New Year's is dying out, but while it does so it has not finished producing flares.
According to SpaceWeather.com, the sunspot, dubbed AR2473, produced a solar flare early on the morning of Jan. 2. The storm, a G2 classification, made the Aurora Borealis visible in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
The website noted Taichi Nakamura likely captured the first images of the Northern Lights "across the International Date Line in Dunedin, New Zealand."
"It was a beautiful treat to see the auroras kick off the New Year," he told SpaceWeather.com. "The display began after midnight and kept glowing with waves and beams until morning twilight painted light over the aurora. It is summer now in New Zealand and my four year old son was delighted to come with me as it is warm even at night."
On New Year's Day, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave the geomagnetic storm a "moderate" G2 classification.
"The coronal mass ejection (CME) observed on 28 December arrived at Earth early on 31 December 2015. G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storm levels have been reached and there is still a slight possibility that we will see G3 (Strong) storms as effects persist," the NOAA stated in its news release. "G2 (Moderate) geomagnetic storms are expected to continue into 01 January 2016 as CME effects are expected to last through the start of the New Year before transitioning into a coronal hole high speed stream regime."