If you are in Iceland today, or on your way here in the next two days, be prepared for the show of a lifetime. Yesterday, the sun erupted with an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection, a solar phenomenon that can send billions of tons of solar particles into space and can reach Earth one to three days later. This causes beautiful aurora activity around the Arctic circle. Iceland is one of the best places in the world to witness this phenomenon, due to small amount of light pollution.
“Not to be confused with a solar flare, a coronal mass ejection is a solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and reach Earth one to three days later. Earth-directed CMEs can cause a space weather phenomenon called a geomagnetic storm, which occurs when they connect with the outside of the Earth’s magnetic envelope, the magnetosphere, for an extended period of time,” says a NASA spokesman.
Photos by NASA and Örlygur Hnefill