March 4, 2024

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Watch the skies closely: The northern lights may shine again in Belgium tonight or tomorrow |  Instagram HLN

Watch the skies closely: The northern lights may shine again in Belgium tonight or tomorrow | Instagram HLN

From midnight there is another chance that we can spot the Northern Lights. The day before yesterday, an eruption occurred in the sun, which may be powerful enough to bring the red glow back to our country. What time does the Northern Lights arrive in Flanders? And can you see it with the naked eye? Specialist Sander Vankanet provides clarity. “The fog can play tricks on us.”

look. This solar flare may cause the northern lights in Belgium

After being able to enjoy the Northern Lights at the beginning of this month, we may be spoiled again tonight or tomorrow. “The day before yesterday, there was a fairly strong explosion in the sun,” says Sander Vancanet, an aurora expert. “This explosion was directed towards Earth and lasted long enough to launch a cloud of magnetically charged particles into space. If this cloud came into contact with our atmosphere, we would be able to see the northern lights, perhaps even as far away as the Low Countries.”

But this is not certain?

“No, there are many factors that can disrupt our chance of a red sky glow. Consider the weather, for example. To see the northern lights properly, you need clear skies. This is because the aurora often becomes visible low above the northern horizon. If “Tomorrow is as foggy as today, so we could be unlucky. You can read the weather report here.”

What time can we see it here?

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“That’s not easy to say at all. This has to do with satellites that tell us that there are solar storms on the Sun. These satellites are located 1.5 million kilometers away from us. When a satellite detects an eruption on the Sun, it travels about 150 million kilometers to reach Earth. As a result, we only know about an hour before a solar storm is approaching Earth, so it’s impossible for us to estimate the exact time of arrival now.

We can see the scene tonight or early in the morning

But you can’t give an estimate?

“Most forecasts now say the storm will arrive between 8am and 2pm. That would be unfortunate, because when it is daylight, the northern lights are more difficult to see. Although there is also a chance that solar particles will arrive much earlier.” A few days before the “big” explosion, there were already several small solar flares targeting Earth. This could speed up the flight of the large cloud and allow us to see the spectacle at night or in the early morning.

Northern lights over Maasmechelen in Limburg.
Northern lights over Maasmechelen in Limburg. © Jana Busi

Let’s say we’re lucky: can you see it with the naked eye?

“I think that chance is slim. The KP index, which indicates how much activity there is on the sun, was ‘only’ 7. This is usually not enough to see the northern lights with the naked eye. So you will have to use a camera. This could just be the case with your phone Smartphone. For best results, I advise you to set your mobile phone camera to night mode.

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