Geomagnetic storm sparks rare auroras, paints the sky red in Oregon | Tech News

Geomagnetic storm sparks rare auroras, paints the sky red in Oregon

Rare red auroras were seen in the skies over Oregon after a G1-class Geomagnetic storm hit Earth on February 16.

| Updated on: Feb 21 2023, 20:03 IST
6 TERRIFYING solar storms that blasted Earth in 2022
Red auroras
1/5 On June 29, a surprise solar storm struck the Earth. The solar storm was not caused by coronal mass ejections (CME) but by a corotating interaction region (CIR), which opened a hole in the Earth's magnetosphere. It was a G1-class solar storm which is capable of causing shortwave radio blackouts and GPS disruptions. Interestingly, it coincided with the rare five planet alignment event.  (NASA)
Red auroras
2/5 Extremely rare pink auroras could be seen on November 3 near Greenland, after a G1-class solar storm slammed into the Earth. Solar storms usually give a greenish hue due to ionizing of Oxygen atoms. However, the CME in this case was able to reach the lower strata of the atmosphere which ionized Nitrogen atoms and gave off the rare pink aura.  (Representative Photo) (Pixabay)
Red auroras
3/5 On November 6, a powerful solar flare which was estimated to be an X-class solar flare caused temporary radio blackouts in Australia and New Zealand. The resultant solar storm blocked all high frequency radio waves making it hard for various emergency services and airlines that use radio communications to operate for multiple hours.  (Pixabay)
Red auroras
4/5 On August 7 and 8, a mysterious phenomenon was seen after a solar storm strike which scientists call STEVE (strong thermal emission velocity enhancement). A gigantic ribbon of purple light followed by a wave of green light could be seen in many parts of North America.   (@KaniskiDylan / Twitter)
Red auroras
5/5 A rare double solar storm attack was seen on March 14 when a G2-class solar storm was quickly followed up with another G1-class solar storm. Scientists believe that such multiple solar storm attacks are going to be more frequent in coming days as the Sun reaches the peak of its solar cycle. (Pixabay)
Red auroras
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Red auroras were captured in the Oregon sky by Paul Carsen. (Paul Carlsen)

As the solar cycle approaches its peak, Earth has seen a range of natural occurrences that have amazing consequences. Solar activity has been particularly intense, with solar storms, flares, and other phenomena affecting our planet. Recently, an X2-class solar flare struck Earth, causing a G1-class geomagnetic storm that had the potential to cause power grid failures, blackouts, and other issues. It has now been disclosed that another solar flare hit Earth a few days earlier, resulting in unusual red auroras appearing in various locations around the globe.

A recent report has revealed that a minor CME hit Earth on February 16. This impact sparked a G1-class Geomagnetic storm which hit the planet on the same day. Although Geomagnetic storms have the potential to disturb, or even destroy, GPS, radio communications, mobile phone connectivity, satellites and even the Internet, this storm wasn't powerful enough to cause any damage although it did cause some physical effects.

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Red auroras spotted

According to the report, it sparked auroras over the regions of Montana, Oregon, New York among others. Although auroras are visible very often, there was something different on February 16. Instead of the usual blue-green auroras, the sky was painted red. Paul Carlsen captured a stunning snapshot of the red auroras in the skies over Oregon. He told, “I took this picture just outside Danner, OR. I could not see the auroras with the naked eye due to light pollution. I was shooting a test shot, preparing to shoot the Milky Way, and there they were--a pleasant surprise!” Carlsen used a Canon 6D (Canon EF 40mm, f/2.8) with a 15 second exposure to capture the rare phenomenon.

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Why do red auroras occur?

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.

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First Published Date: 21 Feb, 20:02 IST