Solar Storm ALERT: Northern Lights visible in the UK, power issues expected | Tech News

Solar Storm ALERT: Northern Lights visible in the UK, power issues expected

The G2 level solar storm has caused the Northern Lights phenomenon over the UK. The storm is expected to cause power fluctuations.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 21:01 IST
geomagnetic storm
The Aurora Borealis has been visible in the UK as the current October 2021 G2 solar storm passes by (Pixabay)

Earth has just witnessed a solar storm and as part of its “side effects,” it brought the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights to as south as the UK. As part of the solar storm, several people in the UK caught a glimpse of the Northern Lights on Monday as the solar storm was passing by. The authorities had also warned of power fluctuations during the solar storm period.

For our young readers, the Northern Lights phenomenon is restricted to the polar caps, i.e., the Arctic circle and Antarctic Circle. The lights are a result of the Sun's Coronal Mass Ejection interfering with the Earth's magnetic field. Colour variations happen when different types of gas particles collide with the charged particles in the upper atmosphere.

The most common and iconic colour for the Aurora Borealis during a solar storm is green, which is a result of Oxygen particles reacting in the upper atmosphere. The blue or purple hue is caused by Nitrogen. 

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Solar Storm could cause power fluctuations 

Authorities have warned of power grid fluctuations and orientation issues with spacecraft during the solar storm. Disruption in radio signals is also a possibility during the period. This solar storm was categorised as a G2 levels geomagnetic storm that falls in the “moderately strong” bracket.

While this solar storm is within the safe limits, scientists predict a bigger one within a century hitting us. This major solar storm could be a result of the sun's “superflares”, which is essentially massive chunks of solar radiation coming out.

A superflare is likely to render all sorts of technology on Earth useless, and even deplete the Earth's Ozone layer. It is essentially termed as a low-level extinction event that could wipe out our lives as we lead. Thankfully, scientists say that superflares are rare events and os only bound to happen once in 100 years.

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First Published Date: 13 Oct, 09:35 IST
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