Magnetic Substorm sparks fascinating Auroras over Norwegian sky!

Although it did not harm the planet, a magnetic substorm caused mesmerizing auroras in Norway recently.

| Updated on: Dec 12 2022, 11:29 IST
Do all solar activities like solar storms, CME, impact Earth? This is what NASA says
Solar flare
1/5 Sun is a source of energy and a lot of activities keep on happening on the fireball. But can Earth be impacted by solar activities? Before we tell you that, it is important to know what solar activity is? According to NASA, solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high-speed solar wind, and solar energetic particles are all forms of solar activity. All solar activity is driven by the solar magnetic field. (NASA)
Solar flare
2/5 Solar flares impact Earth only when they occur on the side of the sun facing Earth. Because flares are made of photons, they travel out directly from the flare site, so if we can see the flare, we can be impacted by it. (Pixabay)
Solar Flare
3/5 Coronal mass ejections, also called CMEs, are large clouds of plasma and magnetic field that erupt from the sun. These clouds can erupt in any direction, and then continue on in that direction, plowing right through the solar wind. Only when the cloud is aimed at Earth will the CME hit Earth and therefore cause impacts. (NASA)
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4/5 High-speed solar wind streams come from areas on the sun known as coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the sun and usually, only when they are closer to the solar equator, do the winds they produce impact Earth. (NASA)
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5/5 Solar energetic particles are high-energy charged particles, primarily thought to be released by shocks formed at the front of coronal mass ejections and solar flares. When a CME cloud plows through the solar wind, high velocity solar energetic particles can be produced and because they are charged, they must follow the magnetic field lines that pervade the space between the Sun and the Earth. Therefore, only the charged particles that follow magnetic field lines that intersect the Earth will result in impacts. (NASA)
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Stunning pink auroras were captured over the Norwegian sky yesterday. (Markus Varik/Greenlander Tromsø)

Earth is being bombarded with solar storms, solar flares, earthquakes, hurricanes and magnetic substorms. Solar activity, in particular, is at a high right now due to the Sun being nearly at the height of its solar cycle. Despite the Sun being nearly 147 million kilometers away from Earth, solar phenomena such as solar storms and solar flares can still cause an effect on the planet. Just yesterday, a magnetic substorm resulted in the appearance of Auroras over the sky of Tromso, Norway, according to

Shifting curtains of pink light were visible, making the night-sky a sight to behold. The report said, “Last night, a magnetic substorm erupted over Tromsø, Norway--and it was very pink.”

The auroras were captured on camera by a tour guide named Markus Varik. He told, "We were all so blown away, speechless really. This was only the 2nd-best display of pink I have ever seen.”

Although auroras are usually green in colour, they can appear as pink sometimes too. Green auroras are formed when energy particles hit the oxygen atoms at 100 km to 300 km from the surface of the planet. But when particles hit at a height lower than 100 km, it results in the formation of pink auroras.

How are Substorms different from Geomagnetic storms?

Although they might seem the same due to the fact they originate from the same source, Magnetic Substorms somewhat differ from Geomagnetic storms. According to NASA, substorms are brief, lasting only two to three hours, and occur much more frequently. In fact, they can occur up to six times a day.

Substorms occur during the main phase of storm growth. Substorms are observed only in the auroral zones, while magnetic storms are a world-wide phenomenon.

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First Published Date: 12 Dec, 11:28 IST
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