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Auroras are becoming a free, multi-day music festival for the eyes across the United States, with reports of sightings in other countries such as Germany, Switzerland, China, England, and Spain. The timing for viewers is optimal, although they may need to stay up late to catch the best look. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasters predict that the geomagnetic storm activity, which produces bursts of northern lights, will return at full strength on Sunday, and could continue into next week. The storms are producing massive solar flaring in an area of sun spots that face Earth, leading to geomagnetic impacts likely to last until that part of the sun rotates away.

The solar activity accelerates electrons as they aim for earth, colliding with oxygen and nitrogen atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, resulting in the wondrous colors of an aurora sky. The intensity of the geomagnetic storms has expanded the viewing area for auroras further south in the United States over the weekend, with sightings reported in states like Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. The dark new moon that began on May 7 may provide a clear stage for the northern lights to shine, with federal forecasters indicating that viewing on Sunday might be hindered by rain and storm activity in states like Kansas and Texas.

Viewing of the auroras is usually best just on either side of midnight, roughly from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The optimal viewing nights for the auroras are expected to be Saturday and Sunday, with the possibility of viewing extending into Monday. Geomagnetic storm intensity has been measured at G5 levels since Friday, with G5 being the most extreme level, ranking higher than any geomagnetic storm since the “Halloween Storms” of 2003. The energy being fed into the earth’s field from the solar activity is significant and unprecedented.

Overall, the auroras lighting up the night skies across the U.S. and other countries have captured the attention of viewers and forecasters alike. The geomagnetic storm activity underlying the northern lights is predicted to continue at full strength on Sunday, with the potential for severe and extreme storms. The collisions of electrons with the gases in the upper atmosphere create the mesmerizing colors of the aurora sky, offering a unique and beautiful natural phenomenon for viewers to enjoy. With the expanded viewing area in the U.S. and the heightened solar flaring activity, the auroras are set to dazzle viewers for the next few nights.

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