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Solar flare to light up aurora Sunday night
July 15, 2017
A geomagnetic storm on the sun two days ago is expected to give Earth-bound sky watchers across most of Canada and the northern U.S. a good Northern Lights show Sunday night into Monday morning.

The sky spectacle should be visible in Idaho, Washington, Montana and other northern states, according to NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center.

The event is the result of a solar flare that erupted out of a sunspot late Thursday into early Friday. The flare blasted out X-rays, which caused a minor radio blackout over parts of Asia, the Weather Network reported.

The flare also released a wave of charged particles, known as a coronal mass ejection, which take a couple of days to reach Earth.

The aurora forms when those particles flowing from the sun get caught up in the Earth's magnetic field. The particles interact with molecules of atmospheric gases to cause the famed glowing red and green colors of the aurora.

NOAA has issued a geomagnetic storm watch for the event and expects a "moderate" storm.
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