Horrifying solar storm sparked Geomagnetic storm! Red streak seen over Danish skies

The terrifying solar storm which hit Earth on March 23 not only sparked a geomagnetic storm, but also caused a red streak of light to appear in the night sky.

| Updated on: Apr 06 2023, 14:19 IST
6 TERRIFYING solar storms that blasted Earth in 2022
Solar storm
1/6 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)
Pink sky
2/6 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)
Solar Storm
3/6 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)
Solar Storm
4/6 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)
geomagnetic storm
5/6 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)
Solar storm
6/6 On October 25, the Sun seemed to beam a smile at Earth even as it spewed a stream of dangerous solar particles towards our planet. Multiple dark regions popped up on the Sun that gave an uncanny impression of a smiley face. The resultant solar storm from the event was noted to be a G2-class which is so strong that it is capable of causing fluctuations in electricity grids on Earth.  (SDO/AIA)
Geomagnetic storm
View all Images
The red streak of light, caused by the geomagnetic storm, was seen prominently in skies over Denmark. (Ruslan Merzlyakov)

A menacing cloud of coronal mass ejection, erupting from a sunspot that was 20 times wider than Earth, struck our planet on March 23 and unleashed a horrifying solar storm that caught everyone off guard. Exploiting cracks in Earth's magnetic field due to the vernal equinox, this horrifying solar storm resulted in a very dangerous G4 Geomagnetic storm which caused radio communication shutdowns, GPS malfunctions, auroras and even a rare phenomenon known as STEVE. Experts later revealed that this geomagnetic storm was the most devastating one to hit Earth in nearly 6 years.

The storm caused another effect, one which would have easily been mistaken for an aurora, but it wasn't one. When the storm hit, a hazy red streak of light was seen across the sky in parts of Scandinavia. It was visible across the night sky, most prominently in Denmark. It was captured by astrophotographer Ruslan Merzlyakov in the Mons Klint region on March 23.

Experts later revealed that the phenomenon was Stable Auroral Red arcs or SARs. Despite its name, it is not actually an aurora.

What are SARs?

According to spaceweather.com, whereas auroras are the result of charged particles descending from outer space, SARs have a distinct origin. They signal the leakage of thermal energy into the upper atmosphere from Earth's ring current system. Only oxygen is heated up during a SAR, causing it to radiate a consistent hue of red every time.

Although SARs are a common phenomenon, they are usually invisible to humans due to being in the wavelength which cannot be seen by our eyes and are only seen when a strong solar storm hits and weakens the Earth's magnetic field.

Solar observation tech

While many space agencies from NASA with its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keep track of Sun-based weather phenomena, one that particularly stands out is the DSCOVR satellite by NOAA. The satellite became operational in 2016 and tracks different measurements of the Sun and its atmosphere including temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation and frequency of the solar particles. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared.

Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

First Published Date: 06 Apr, 14:18 IST
keep up with tech