A Massive Solar Storm Just Hit The Earth Creating An Enchanting Display Of Auroras


Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from the Sun Image: NASA
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Space Weather Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had issued warnings about the solar storm that hit planet earth this Wednesday at 12:02 UTC. All the exciting treats from the space appear to be coming in the share of North America as the storm came soon after the full solar eclipse that had the entire planet talking.

The G3-level storm was visible in Northern part of the US, southern Canada, and large parts of Russia along with a small tract of Northern European countries. Our sun ejected a massive amount of plasma called coronal mass ejection (CME) on September 4.

X9.3 Solar Flare (Source: NASA)

The spectacular display of glowing auroras is not new for the people living in Northern Europe, but it is an amazing and unique sight for the people in the US and Canada. The G3-level storm is strong enough to supercharge auroras to make them appear at altitudes much lower than the usual. The CME associated with the X9.3 flare is expected to last through Thursday. According to rough estimates, it is one of the largest solar flares observed in the current solar cycle.

Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from the Sun
Image: NASA

We get to witness auroras above the surface of the earth when charged particles from the sun get to the upper atmosphere along with the magnetic field lines. When these particles enter the atmosphere, they cause the neutral molecules to glow. The stronger the solar flare is, the deeper the aurora dips into the atmosphere, thus visible at lower altitudes!

Beautiful light displays are not the only treats that come with the solar storm. Plasma bursts of such intensity can severely damage satellites and even tinker with the electrical grid on earth.

We do not know what kind of havoc this show of auroras will bring to our planet. We can do nothing but admit that this sight of glowing auroras will be worth watching!

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