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Solar flare could bring Northern Lights to parts of Midwest

CARTERVILLE (WSIL) - A powerful solar flare hurled towards Earth could bring the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, farther south than normal.

This solar flare, which NASA describes as "an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy on the sun", comes just two weeks after the largest one in nearly three years. That solar flare was not directed towards earth.

The solar flare, and accompanying coronal mass ejection, heading towards Earth is likely to arrive Wednesday night and Thursday.

While this all may sound scary, it's nothing to be alarmed over and it's quite common. Strong solar flares can interrupt radio and communications due to the high amount of magnetic energy.

The extra particles may cause the Aurora Borealis to extend as far south as the Pacific Northwest, Central Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes and New England.

They may be visible on the horizon even farther south, but it's extreme rare to see them as far south as southern Illinois. Better chances for viewing will likely occur across northern Illinois.

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Nick Hausen

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