Solar storm hits earth, provides visual feast

Auroras light up night sky due to huge solar storm reaching earth

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A salvo of solar storms over the weekend has combined and reached the Earth’s atmosphere, causing Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.

On Sunday, a major explosion in the sun unleashed a coronal mass ejection towards Earth travelling at a speed of almost 6.5 million kilometres per hour. The solar storm hit Earth on Monday afternoon.

Another storm which erupted on Monday is expected to reach Earth on Wednesday, according to the US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).

“…Arrival is expected June 24 at 2300 UT (7 pm EDT).  This timing bodes well for aurora watchers in North America,” the SWPC said on its website.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this salvo may be the biggest solar storm since September 2005.

Auroras are byproducts of solar storms interacting with the atmosphere. The colour of the aurora indicates the intensity of the storm. A rare red colour suggests intense solar activity happening at the highest part of the earth’s atmosphere.

Despite the breathtaking beauty of auroras, solar storms can disrupt communication and navigation systems such as GPS devices and power grids. But according to NOAA there were no reports of damage.

Auroras are expected to be seen in northern Europe, Canada and the US for a few more nights.

TRTWorld and agencies