Written by By Hanna Avari, CNN
After an “unusually strong” solar storm appeared in the sun’s atmosphere Wednesday, southern skies may be filled with the Northern Lights this weekend.
A total of 30 science experiments were conducted on Thursday using instruments from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Research and Technology Center (ESSTC), with the aim of predicting when Earth would be hit with the charged particles.
While scientists say that neither the aurora borealis or aurora australis (shooting star) will be visible in North America on Friday, many areas in Europe and Asia may still see a brief display of light in the night sky later in the day.
The presence of such a storm increases the chances of spotting auroras in the Northern Hemisphere. A loud “boom” is believed to be a result of oxygen atoms being stripped away from sunlight and releasing their charged electrons.
“I’m very curious to see if I can get an aurora on Saturday night. All of the flags in my yard say ‘USA,’ but I’m not sure I’d want to see them, so I’m hoping that we get a night or two of aurora,” Los Angeles resident Alex Vespignani told CNN on Thursday, who described his spot in Vespignani, Idaho as a “super starry night sky” that only comes around three times a year.
Major auroras occur around Christmas and at other peak times on the Earth’s magnetic sphere due to the tilt of the Earth relative to the Sun. According to EarthSky, the strongest northern lights display in recorded history was observed on May 26, 1847, when “the Northern Lights were so powerful that sailors experienced terrifying visions and tornadoes,” while on October 29, 1962, something similar happened, according to NASA.