Miracle! Huge Geomagnetic storm sparks Auroras in US, Europe, New Zealand, other regions

The G4-class Geomagnetic storm which hit Earth recently sparked auroras all over the world!

| Updated on: Apr 25 2023, 14:55 IST
Top NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Auroras, Dark Seahorse Nebula and more
1/5 Red ring of ELVES (April 17) - It is a snapshot of ELVES lighting up the sky over Italy, a distinct type of transient luminous event. ELVES refers to the Emission of Light and Very Low-Frequency perturbations due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources. The red ELVES captured in the image had a radius of approximately 350 kilometers and occurred at an altitude of about 100 kilometers above the surface, according to NASA. (NASA/Valter Binotto)
solar eclipse
2/5 Map of Total Solar Eclipse path (April 18) - It is the map of the total solar eclipse path which will take place on April 8 next year. Viewers in locations outside the paths will not experience a total solar eclipse or annular eclipse, but they may still see a partial eclipse. Lines running parallel to each path indicate how much of the Sun will become covered by the Moon during the partial eclipse. (NASA/SVS)
3/5 Auroras in Finland (April 19) - This captured image shows auroras lighting up the sky in Saariselka, in northern Finnish Lapland. It was a result of a powerful CME hitting Earth and the auroras could be seen not only in the North but as far as New Mexico, according to NASA. The bright auroras were seen in yellow, green, red and purple auroral colours, mesmerizing skywatchers and tourists. (NASA/Juan Carlos Casado (Starry Earth, TWAN))
Dark Seahorse nebula
4/5 Dark Seahorse Nebula (April 20) - Barnard 150, also known as the Dark Seahorse Nebula, is one of the most peculiarly shaped nebulae, located about 1200 light-years away towards the constellation of Cepheus. It is a dark molecular cloud and is so dense that the dust within blocks visible wavelengths of light. Telescopes that see visible light only detect ghostly dark patches in the sky, called Dark Nebulae. (NASA/Jeff Herman)
Hybrid Solar Eclipse
5/5 Hybrid Solar Eclipse (April 21) - It is a snapshot of the Hybrid Solar Eclipse which occurred yesterday, April 20. It crossed over remote parts of Australia, Indonesia and East Timor and was live-streamed by websites such as Perth Observatory, and the Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory and more. According to NASA, this hybrid solar eclipse lasted just 62 seconds. (NASA/Gwenael Blanck)
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Auroras were seen in several parts of the U.S. (Landon Moeller)

Rampant solar activity such as sunspot eruptions, solar storms, solar flares, geomagnetic storms and more, have all plagued Earth for the past few months. This is because the Sun entered solar cycle 25 in 2019 and it is expected that it will hit its peak in July 2025. Although this solar activity might seem harmless due to the distance of the Sun from our planet, it can cause major damage.

Recently, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that a strong CME hit Earth on April 23 and caused a terrifying G4 class Geomagnetic storm. This further sparked stunning streaks of light in the sky, known as Auroras. What seems like a miracle and is quite shocking is that the Auroras lasted for a long time and were seen virtually all over the world!

Auroras spotted

Although auroras, also known as the Northern and Southern Lights, put on a mesmerizing show of light in the night skies of the polar regions, they can be visible all over the world if the solar storm is of strong intensity. The G4 Geomagnetic storm sparked auroras which were not only in the U.S., but also in Europe, New Zealand, Asia and as far as South of France.

Landon Moeller, a U.S. based astrophotographer not only captured auroras, but possibly a Lyrid meteor too, above Apple River, Illinois, U.S. Moeller told space.com in an email, "I was running a timelapse on my camera at the time to capture the dancing aurora. Suddenly a bright white/blue meteor streaked from the east to the west through the light pillars for about 4-5 seconds before burning up and leaving a big smoke trail. It was incredible!"

Other astrophotographers around the world shot this fascinating phenomenon too.

Formation of Auroras

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.

These mesmerizing lights are constantly changing shape and intensity, from dim and scattered, to bright enough that they are visible for miles.

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.

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First Published Date: 25 Apr, 14:55 IST