Sun unleashes powerful flare, chance of northern lights over next few days

A powerful X-class solar flare, seen here, erupted from the sun on March 11, 2015. NASA/SDO/Helioviewer

TORONTO — The night sky could light up over the next few days after a powerful solar flare was ejected from the sun Wednesday.

Solar flares are measured by the amount of x-rays they emit, ranging from the weakest to the strongest, going from C to M to X.

On Wednesday afternoon, the sun unleashed an X2.2 solar flare from sunspot 2297. The sunspot had just recently turned towards Earth.

READ MORE: How solar storms could leave us in the dark

The flare triggered radio blackouts across North America, peaking around 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Typically, a coronal mass ejection, or CME, is associated with strong x-flares. It’s believed that a CME might be emerging, but it’s a game of wait-and-see.

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The Space Weather Prediction Center has already issued a minor geomagnetic storm warning for March 13 due to glancing blows of three CMEs that erupted from the sun on March 9.

Those CMEs, as well as a CME associated with this solar flare, means that we may have an increased chance of witnessing the northern lights over the next few days.

Stay tuned for updates.

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