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The Northern Lights could be seen again in Florida in 2024. Find out when and why here

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Get your cameras ready!

The Northern Lights spectacle that painted the skies across much of the United States, including Florida, in May could soon return for a repeat.

Due to strong solar flares and a moonless night sky, the Northern Lights were visible in the Sunshine State on May 10.

According to LiveScience, the solar flares were caused by a giant sunspot, a dark area on the sun that is over 15 times larger than Earth.

The sunspot continues to produce strong solar flares and will be facing Earth due to the rotation of the Sun on June 6 and again at the new moon.

If conditions are similar to those on May 10, the Northern Lights may be visible again in Florida.

“Once the sunspot begins to appear, we will enter the window of opportunity [for solar flares],” solar physicist Dr. Ryan French told LiveScience.

Aurora Borealis forecast for June 6

Conditions could be right for an aurora borealis spectacle over the United States on June 6 when a giant sunspot gazes at Earth as the sun rotates on its axis.

The sunspot is still active, emitting solar flares—bursts of radiation considered the largest explosive events in our solar system—and June 6 will be a new moon, meaning there will be no moon visible in the night sky.

When the solar storm particles are redirected to the North and South Poles, they glow in different colors depending on the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

How do Northern Lights work?

Northern lights, also known as aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere, are created when solar flares emitted by the sun hit the Earth's upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million miles per hour, according to the Space.com website.

The stunning colors of the Northern Lights are determined by the chemical composition of the Earth's atmosphere as geomagnetic storm particles are redirected toward the North and South Poles.

Northern lights can affect power grids and technology

Although they do not pose a real threat to Earth, geomagnetic storms have the potential to disrupt power grids, radio communications, and navigation signals (GPS).

Solar storms have already caused power outages and even blackouts.

According to USA TODAY, in 1989, a geomagnetic storm left millions of Canadians in Quebec without power for 12 hours. In 2003, a solar storm caused blackouts in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa.

The strongest geomagnetic storm on record, the Carrington Event of 1859, reportedly caused fires at telegraph stations and prevented messages from being transmitted.

Although less likely, satellites can be affected by solar storms, causing power outages and disruptions to navigation systems.

Northern Lights in Florida

On May 10, 2024, Florida residents were treated to an awe-inspiring sight as the Northern Lights lit up the night sky.

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Anna Harden

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