Geomagnetic storm hits Earth! Solar wind sparks red auroras in US | Tech News

Geomagnetic storm hits Earth! Solar wind sparks red auroras in US

A Geomagnetic Storm was sparked today by solar wind which passed through a gap created in Earth's magnetic field.

| Updated on: Feb 17 2023, 17:34 IST
In Pics: What are Northern lights? 5 facts about this stunning Aurora phenomenon
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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The Geomagnetic Storm sparked red auroras in Hamilton, Montana. (Bill Burnett)

Earth has been in the firing line of various natural phenomena in the 2 months into the new year. Moreover, devastating earthquakes have plagued places like Turkey, wreaking havoc and causing major loss of life and property. Out in space, solar activity has also been at a high with solar storms, solar flares, CMEs and other phenomena impacting Earth. Now, it has been revealed that a gap in the Earth's magnetic field allowed dangerous solar wind to pass through.

According to a report by, solar wind passed through a gap which occurred due to a crack in the Earth's magnetic field. The report stated, “Yesterday, a crack opened in Earth's magnetic field. Solar wind poured through the gap, sparking a G1-class geomagnetic storm.”

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This further sparked a G-1 class Geomagnetic Storm. The crack occurred due to South-pointing magnetic fields weakening Earth's defenses against the solar wind due to a CME which hit Earth on February 15, allowing the gaseous material to penetrate.

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Effects of the Geomagnetic Storm

The Geomagnetic storm caused physical effects and resulted in the formation of bright red auroras which were seen by people in Hamilton, Montana. Bill Burnett, who saw the mesmerizing phenomenon taking place in the sky and captured the image, told, “Northern Lights were visible from the lower end of the Bitterroot valley on Feb 15th around 11:30pm. Visually, there was just a green glow on the northern horizon with just a faint hint of light pillars. However, the camera really picked up the various colours.”

Solar Cycle

The Sun entered solar cycle 25 in 2019 and it is expected that it will hit its peak in July 2025. And this is the main reason why the Sun has suddenly become so violent. The Earth is in for a rough ride. If the Earth is hit with a G5-class solar storm, it can not only damage satellites and disrupt wireless communications such as internet services, mobile network and GPS, it can also cause power grid failures and even disrupt electronics such as pacemakers on Earth.

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First Published Date: 17 Feb, 17:33 IST

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