Northern Lights: Aurora Borealis Didn’t Appear Over US After Solar Flare

January 11, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, didn’t end up appearing over the United States. Scientists had said they might make a rare appearance due to a coronal mass ejection from the sun, also known as a solar flare.

The flare hit the Earth on Thursday afternoon, bringing geomagnetic storms as the planet passed through its wake.

The ejections can disrupt electronics and cause widespread voltage control problems, though that didn’t happen this time.

The flare was an X1.2 class, part of the highest X-class intensity but low on the scale of the class.

Forecasters with the National Weather Center said on Thursday that ““If you don’t mind getting up early and have few to no clouds in your area overnight, you may get a chance to see the Aurora if you live in the Northern lower 48.”

But the phenomenon didn’t appear, perhaps because the geomagnetic storm didn’t hit Earth hard.

“A blast of solar wind from a coronal hole might have actually shoved the Earth-directed solar storm off course, resulting in our planet receiving only a glancing blow, instead of a full blast of space weather,” according to National Geographic.

The phenomenon did appear in other areas, such as the United Kingdom.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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