This image shows a solar flare erupting on the Sun’s northeastern hemisphere this week. Space weather officials say the strongest solar storm in more than six years is already bombarding Earth.
Geomagnetic storms cause awesome sights, but they can also bring trouble. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, problems can include current surges in power lines, electrical grid outages, interference in the broadcast of radio, TV and telephone signals.
Radiation from Sunday’s flare arrived at Earth an hour later and continue through today. Levels are considered strong but other storms have been more severe. This storm is the strongest for radiation since May 2005. The radiation – in the form of protons – came flying out of the sun at 93 million miles per hour.
Astronomer Dr David Whitehouse told Sky News: “A storm took place on the surface of the sun on Sunday and that sends a stream of particles towards the earth. When they strike the upper atmosphere at the poles, they create these shimmering lights; these red and green curtains and streamers of light that move. There’s no other light in the night sky that’s as ghostly, as mysterious and as wonderful as the aurora.”
The Canadian Space Agency posted a geomagnetic storm warning on Tuesday after residents were also treated to a spectacular show in the night sky. Ken Kennedy, director of the Aurora section of the British Astronomical Association, said that the lights, also known as the aurora borealis, may be visible for a few more days.
This spectacular ‘coronal mass ejection’ followed the solar flare – rarely are they do form such amazing shapes as this bird-like creation.
Lights Over Lapland Photo Expedition video of CME impact on 1-24-2012 from Lights Over Lapland on Vimeo.
The powerful geomagnetic storm created extreme auroras in the skies above Abisko National Park in Sweden. This video was shot over three hours on the night of the 24th by Lights Over Lapland photographer Chad Blakley. Please visit lightsoverlapland.com for more information.