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The solar storm produced some stunning sights over Winchester this past weekend. WINCHESTER STAFF PHOTO/TARA HUGHES

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If you were looking up into the sky over the weekend, you may have notices strange lights. That’s because the Northern Hemisphere was treated to an unusually strong solar storm that produced some stunning displays of light and color across the night skies.

The night sky over Winchester lights up under the solar storm. WINCHESTER STAFF PHOTO/TARA HUGHES

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a severe geomagnetic storm warning on May 10, stating “NOAA space weather forecasters have observed at least seven coronal mass ejections (CMEs) from the sun, with impacts expected to arrive on Earth as early as midday Friday, May 10, and persist through Sunday, May 12, 2024.”

CMEs are explosions of plasma and magnetic fields from the sun’s corona and can cause geomagnetic storms when they are directed at Earth.

Lights could be seen all over the Northern Hemisphere over the weekend during a rare solar geomagnetic storm. WINCHESTER STAFF PHOTO/TARA HUGHES

“Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on Earth’s surface, potentially disrupting communications, the electric power grid, navigation, radio and satellite operations. SWPC has notified the operators of these systems so they can take protective action,” NOAA’s website states.

“This is an unusual and potentially historic event,” Clinton Wallace, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, is quoted as saying.

The Associated Press reported the most intense solar storm in recorded history, in 1859, prompted auroras in central America and possibly even Hawaii.

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