America and Europe witness rare red aurora. More are expected to be making their way to the sky of Canada, the US, England, and Scotland.
Supercharging the atmosphere with particles from the solar wind due to a course of solar plasma arriving on earth has prompted the display of rare red aurora displays across extensive portions of Canada, Europe, and the northern USA.
People have been awestruck by the mesmerizing phenomena and have been trying to capture the colorful sightings in the sky with photographs and videos.
The internet has been flooded with pictures of incredible aurora sightings taken by skywatchers. The most recent wave of polar lights has been particularly striking due to its rare red shade, as this requires a deep penetration of the earth’s surface with a higher concentration of solar wind particles.
The aurora is expected to get more intense and continue since a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), which is a burst of plasma from the sun’s upper atmosphere that erupted when the sun arrived on earth on February 16.
The US Space Weather Prediction Center predicted a week ago that a minor G1 class geomagnetic storm on Friday night and its intensification to a moderate G2 storm early Saturday. These auroras are a result of these storms. To witness these, all one needs is a clear sky.
Solar activity in space has been at a high with the occurrence of high solar flares, solar storms, Coronal Mass Ejections or CMEs, and, other earth-impacting phenomena. Recently, it was revealed that dangerous solar winds were allowed to pass through a gap in the earth’s magnetic field.
This sparked a G1 class geomagnetic storm. The gap occurred due to south-pointing magnetic fields which weakened the earth’s defenses against the solar wind, because of a CME that hit the earth on February 15, which allowed gaseous material to penetrate.
The storm caused physical effects that resulted in the formation of rare, bright red auroras. These are expected to be visible from as far north as New York, Idaho, and Scotland. England and the US can witness sightings of the aurora as far south as the north.
These storms are expected to go on till at least February 19.
In 2019, the Sun entered cycle 25. It is expected that in July 2025 the cycle will hit its peak. This is said to be the main reason behind the sudden violent activities of the sun.
These storms are considered particularly harmless until or unless they long for a long time. If these storms were to stay for a long time, they could damage some large electrical equipment present at high altitudes. Long-duration storms have already taken a batch of Starlink satellites out of commission. Therefore, satellites and spacecraft are at a higher risk of damage.
If the Earth faces a G5 class geomagnetic storm, then the earth is in for a rough ride as the effects of the storm could vary from damaged satellites to disruption of wireless communications, that is, internet services, mobile networks, and GPS. The storm can also cause the failure of the power grid and even disruption of electronics on earth such as pacemakers.