On Wednesday, Sep 6th 2017, our sun unleashed two massive solar flares, the second of which was the most powerful we’ve seen in more than a decade. The burst of radiation was so intense, it caused high-frequency radio blackouts across the daytime side of Earth that lasted for about an hour.
Solar flares are giant explosions on the surface of the sun that occur when twisted magnetic field lines suddenly snap and release massive amounts of energy.
Space weather scientists classify flares based on their intensity, with X-class flares being the most powerful. These explosions can release as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs.
The KP index jumped up to 9 with possible Aurora sightings at a latitude of 48.1°or lower, including the following countries:
San Francisco (CA, USA) Las Vegas (NV, USA) Albuquerque (NM, USA) Dallas (TX, USA) Jackson (MS, USA) Atlanta (GA, USA)
Paris (France) Munich (Germany) Vienna (Austria) Bratislava (Slovakia) Kiev (Ukraine)
Astana (Kazakhstan) Novosibirsk (Russia)
Perth (Australia) Sydney (Australia) Auckland (New Zealand)
However, the Aurora display over Iceland caused by this solar flares was quiet decent, like you see in those two pictures.
Scientists estimate that Iceland has been at a to high latitude for observing the Aurora caused by this X-class flare.
It is a common misunderstanding that we need a high KPI for strong displays over Iceland, since the KP index only indicates the latitude of possible sightings, but not it´s strength.
From our experience, a KP of 4-5 raises chances to see beautiful, fast dancing Auroras.
Let´s keep on hunting!
Can´t catch the Northern Lights? Visit us at our Northern Lights Center – where the lights are always on display!
Aurora Reykjavik - The Northern Light Center
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