Skymet weather

Northern Lights: A visual treat for US and UK

March 20, 2015 5:28 PM |

Northern Lights in US and UKOn Tuesday, several people across the United States and Europe were able to witness breathtaking auroras in the sky, post-sunset. This miraculous sight was fueled by an intense geomagnetic storm which continues to echo in the Earth’s magnetic field even now. Generally, bright and clear auroras are sighted close to the poles i.e. in areas like Alaska or Iceland. But Tuesday was different as residents of Illinois, New York, and even Kansas were able to view the magical display of aurora borealis or northern lights.

On Sunday, March 15, the Sun shot off two huge coronal mass ejections (CME) which hit the Earth’s magnetic field on Tuesday. CME are quick-paced moving clouds of charged particles which bump into gas atoms in Earth’s atmosphere and emit light. The color of the lights depends on the type of the gas atom. Tuesday’s events caused a G-4 scale geomagnetic storm which happened to be the strongest solar storm since 2013.

Auroras as a natural phenomenon occur when solar activity on the surface of the Sun creates ‘sun spots’ which fire a part of the Sun’s upper atmosphere into space. These are fast paced charged particles which are then deflected by the Earth’s magnetic field. However, a portion of these charged particles ram into gas atoms on our planet shedding out a wave of majestic colors.

Besides giving birth to visual treats which leave us simply dazzled, these auroras can also disrupt electric grids and cause satellite communications to function improperly. In fact, a strong geomagnetic storm can prove to be catastrophic in nature. An intense solar eruption can seriously damage power grids, render satellites powerless, and affect millions on the planet. Earth escaped a similar strike from a geomagnetic storm back in July, 2012.


For accurate weather forecast and updates, download Skymet Weather (Android App | iOS App) App.

Weather Forecast

Other Latest Stories

Weather on Twitter
पश्चिमी मध्य प्रदेश तथा उससे सटे दक्षिण-पूर्वी राजस्थान, ओडिशा और गंगीय पश्चिम बंगाल, तटीय कर्नाटक तथा केरल सहित अं… t.co/ZkxDWxvDJl
Friday, August 23 17:30Reply
अगले 24 घंटों के दौरान वाराणसी, प्रयागराज, लखनऊ, कानपुर, सुल्तानपुर सहित पूर्वी और मध्य उत्तर प्रदेश के कई इलाकों… t.co/PXtsYpRmlM
Friday, August 23 17:15Reply
पुढील ४८ तास मुंबईत पावसाचा जोर कमी राहील व येथे हलका पाऊस पडेल. महिन्याच्या अखेरीस काही माध्यम सरींची शक्यता आहे.… t.co/nhSFLivZW3
Friday, August 23 17:00Reply
रायपुर, दुर्ग, बिलासपुर, उज्जैन, रतलाम, इंदौर, गुना, भोपाल, कोटा, बूंदी, भीलवाड़ा, टोंक और सवाई माधोपुर सहित मध्य… t.co/6yF2xdmRTn
Friday, August 23 16:44Reply
#Greenland is the place where the planet’s warmer and watery future is being written. This is where Earth's refrige… t.co/ezRn2gdqX7
Friday, August 23 16:30Reply
देहरादून, नैनीताल, हरिद्वार, शिमला, मनाली, लाहौल स्पीति, धर्मशाला सहित उत्तराखंड व हिमाचल प्रदेश में कई स्थानों पर… t.co/2HCe4jxCZw
Friday, August 23 16:15Reply
Now, the time has finally come to bid adieu to #ElNino, gradually paving way for ENSO neutral conditions. According… t.co/9jYnISSse8
Friday, August 23 15:55Reply
At present, El Niño is not in the favourable time zone and is now heading towards collapse. There is a mere 30% pro… t.co/eapq1A3HBZ
Friday, August 23 15:51Reply
As per meteorologists, #ElNino typically lasts for 9-12 months and we have already seen nine episodes of the same s… t.co/Q44l6bgvTE
Friday, August 23 15:50Reply
As expected, #ElNino had started showing a declining trend in July itself, with continuous fluctuations in the equa… t.co/eqX6CpCG0f
Friday, August 23 15:49Reply

latest news

Skymet weather

Download the Skymet App

Our app is available for download so give it a try