By Joe Joyce, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – The sun is bombarding the Earth with the biggest solar storm since October 2003 and is causing the night sky to light up with Aurora Borealis.

The surface of the sun erupted late Sunday night producing a large solar flare seen on this video from NASA. This electromagnetic burst, called a coronal mass ejection, hit Earth about 9:31 a.m., according to scientists at the Space Weather Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Moving at four million miles per hour towards the Earth, these super charged particles gravitate towards the poles creating beautiful displays of color and light. Experts say the northern lights may even seep a little farther into the lower latitudes, including New England. Tonight and for the next 24 hours, this energy from the sun will be interacting with our upper atmosphere and the results could be stunning for sky watchers, maybe even in and around the Carolinas.

While Earth’s magnetic field protects us from the sun’s harmful radiation, solar storms like this have been known to create satellite and communication disruptions. No major impacts are expected from this event. Great viewing tonight with clear skies, but the Aurora still remains very elusive.

Heading north and away from city lights will increase your chances.


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