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Will northern lights be seen in Texas again? Here's when solar activity is set to peak

Alexis Simmerman
Austin American-Statesman

The sky awed Texans last weekend as the northern lights were visible from some parts of the state. The phenomenon, officially called the aurora borealis, was just the latest solar event this year.

This is only the beginning 鈭 solar activity is expected to peak in July 2025.

The aurora borealis last weekend was visible farther south than it is typically seen.

SEE:Wondering what the northern lights looked like in Texas? See photos shared on social media

Aurora borealis triggered by geomagnetic storm

A rare geomagnetic storm hit Earth last weekend, prompting a warning from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA as "a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere that occurs when there is a very efficient exchange of energy from the solar wind into the space environment surrounding Earth."

The aurora borealis occurs when electrons collide with Earth's atmosphere, . When this happens, the aurora forms two ovals in correlation with Earth's magnetic poles.

Last weekend's storm was initially forecast as a G2, or moderate, geomagnetic storm but was upgraded to G4, or severe. This strength allowed residents in the northernmost parts of Texas to view the northern lights with the naked eye. It's too soon to tell if upcoming storms might be visible again in Texas.

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香港六合彩开奖直播 aurora borealis sightings to come

Experts predict the most recent aurora borealis was the first of many to occur over the next few years, USA TODAY reports.

"There have been an increase in aurora seen in general on Earth,"聽聽told USA TODAY. "The sun has been more active, resulting in more solar storms that cause solar flares and coronal mass ejections."

As the sun releases solar flares, it carries plasma particles toward the Earth.

Atoms in air molecules in Earth's magnetic field are stimulated when charged electrons from the sun collide with them. As the molecules settle, they emit light. Green and red light are emitted by oxygen. The color of nitrogen is blue and purple.

Solar max to affect Earth's magnetic field

Every 11 years, the sun goes through a "solar cycle." A cycle is the increase and decrease in the number of sunspots observed on the sun. With an increase in the number of sunspots, there's an increase in solar flares and plasma energy and other types of space weather. Large eruptions on the sun send bursts of energy and material toward Earth.

According to predictions made by NASA scientists, the solar maximum, or the next peak in solar activity, will occur in July 2025. As a result, the northern lights will get stronger and more frequent as the solar maximum approaches.