Solar storm may amp up northern lights before Christmas

A solar storm that erupted from the sun on Monday (Dec. 20) may boost northern lights displays around the north pole just ahead of Santa’s trip this weekend, the U.K. Met Office space weather forecasting center said today (Dec. 22).

The solar storm was caused by a coronal mass ejection, or CME, a powerful eruption of magnetically charged particles and plasma from the outer layer of the sun’s atmosphere, the corona. When directed at Earth, CMEs can trigger geomagnetic storms that can disrupt satellite services and knock out power grids. A more pleasant side-effect of these events is the increase of auroras in the regions around the North and South Poles, where these magnificent displays take place.