Spectacular Northern Lights are expected this weekend in Ireland after a huge solar flare sent solar storm clouds towards Ireland.
David Moore of Astronomy Ireland told Breaking News.ie "The sun is belching a lot – spitting out a huge amount," he said. "This explosion looks huge – and more impressive."
Our sun operates on 11-year cycles of activity, which means it's now in the same peak as it was in 2003, when the aurora was visible directly overhead as far south as Cork.”
Donegal and points North will be especially open to the Aurora.
"If you get a weak Aurora, it's out over the North Atlantic Ocean," Moore said, explaining that there's little light out there to disturb the spectacle.
"Colors in the photographs looks green, but to the naked eye, they actually look white," Moore said, referring to weak displays.
This particular pair of solar flares have the potential to cause an excellent aurora, because one of the flares was an x1.6-class – a particularly strong eruption.
It's believed that ejection is traveling at up to 3,750km every second toward earth, but we won't know if it will hit earth directly until it arrives.
But even if it skims by, it's worth seeing, Moore says. "A small glow on the horizon, if you've never seen it – it's something to see," he said.
And as to whether this weekend's event will be impressive, all Moore can say is "we hope so ... all you can do is alert people."
For enthusiasts, Astronomy Ireland also runs trips to Norway to see the Northern Lights in all their glory. The week-long journey to the Arctic circle on board a cruise ship maximizes the chance to see the flickering green lights overhead, and the next one is due to take place in November.
*Main photo: An X1.6 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 10, 2014. This image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in teal.