Solar storms could light up smoky skies

Solar flare
An extreme ultraviolet image of the sun, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows an X9.3 flare erupting at lower right. (NASA / Goddard / SDO Photo)

The sun has been acting up this week, and normally that would produce auroral displays bright enough to see in Washington state.

But this isn’t a normal week: Western skies have been obscured by wildfire smoke, and although westerly winds are expected to push out a lot of that smoke overnight in the Seattle area, it’s debatable whether northern lights will be visible.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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