Geomagnetic storm caused by CME sparks rare red auroras over Scotland

In a recent development, experts have revealed details about rare forms of auroras that were sparked due to a CME hitting Earth. Know details of this phenomenon and the geomagnetic storm that sparked it all.

| Updated on: Sep 25 2023, 08:51 IST
In Pics: What are Northern lights? 5 facts about this stunning Aurora phenomenon
Geomagnetic storm
1/5 Auroras or Northern lights are shifting curtains of light in greens, blues and pinks which light up the night sky in the Northern and Southern poles. They are called Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis in the North Pole and Southern Lights or Aurora Australis in the South Pole. (AFP)
Geomagnetic storm
2/5 Auroras occur at the northern and southern poles, according to NASA. Occasionally, space weather interacting with Earth can cause auroras to extend even further away from the poles. These mesmerizing lights are constantly changing shape and intensity, from dim and scattered, to bright enough that they are visible for miles. (TWAN/Kwon O Chul)
Geomagnetic storm
3/5 According to NASA, when a solar storm interacts with Earth’s magnetic field, it results in the formation of Geomagnetic storms. The solar particles released during this interact with the various gases present in our atmosphere and form stunning Auroras which are a sight to behold, especially from places like Reykjavik in Iceland and Svalbard in Norway. (NOAA)
Geomagnetic storm
4/5 Did you know that Auroras form on other planets too? Yes! Not only Earth, but Auroras have been seen on planets like Jupiter and Saturn. NASA says that if a planet has an atmosphere and a magnetic field, Auroras can form if the conditions are right! (NASA)
Geomagnetic storm
5/5 Scientists study aurora from a variety of vantage points: below, above, and within. From below, ground based telescopes and radar look upward to track what’s happening in the sky. From above, NASA missions such as THEMIS investigate what causes auroras to dramatically shift from slowly shimmering waves of light to wildly shifting streaks of colour, according to the space agency. (NASA)
Geomagnetic storm
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The G2-class geomagnetic storm sparked auroras in Scotland. (Pexels)

Solar activity has been on an upward trend in the last few months and it is expected to increase as the Sun approaches the solar maximum. Earth is set to be in the firing line of CMEs, solar storms, geomagnetic storms, and more as the peak of the Sun's 11-year solar cycle nears. Therefore, it is imperative that we keep a check on the volatile nature of the Sun for any activity that threatens Earth. Astonishingly, the present cycle has exceeded the expectations of scientists as the number of sunspots till now has already passed the total number predicted in this cycle.

In a recent development, experts have revealed details about the rare form of auroras that were sparked due to a CME hitting Earth. Know details of this phenomenon and the geomagnetic storm that sparked it.

CME sparks red auroras

According to a report by, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA, after carefully studying the data, have revealed that a CME struck Earth yesterday, September 24. It caused a G2-class Geomagnetic storm, which is considered moderate in intensity. For the unaware, these storms are caused by magnetic disturbances as a result of charged particles hitting the Earth. Geomagnetic storms can result in power cuts, and radio disturbances, and can even disrupt the global communication network.

While September 24's geomagnetic storm did not trigger any adverse effects, it did cause stunning and rare red auroras which were seen over the Scottish skies. Astrophotographer Chris Walker told, “These were some of the reddest aurora I've ever seen”.

Cause behind red auroras: Red auroras are rarer than green auroras because they require a higher level of energy to be produced. These auroras are produced due to the high-altitude oxygen molecules and nitrogen molecules colliding and emitting light in the red part of the spectrum.

G3 storm soon?

According to the spaceweather report, this G2-class geomagnetic storm could intensify into a G3-class storm today, which is much more severe. The report mentioned that auroras could be visible in high-latitude areas and astrophotographers could take advantage of that by capturing breathtaking snapshots of this rare phenomenon.

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First Published Date: 25 Sep, 08:38 IST