A recent solar storm that hit our planet on Wednesday in the magnetosphere could make the northern lights visible to millions of people that wouldn’t usually be able to see it.
A glancing blow was delivered to Earth by some charged particles
A few days ago, the sun discharged an explosion that was caused by a new sunspot, which was able to fire a small solar flare. This blast lasted for more than an hour and it apparently even caused some disruptions for a few radio operators in Africa and Europe.
At the moment of the explosion, a massive cloud of charged particles known as coronal mass ejection (CME) was also discharged, which caused the northern lights to be pushed south during the weekend.
A mild solar storm has recently taken place
The particles that collided with the magnetic field of our planet were able to turn up the range and the intensity of the northern and southern lights, which are also known as auroras. Particles that are coming from the sun and are constantly flowing toward Earth are creating these auroras. However, it seems that a CME can really contribute to the increase of the display.
For a better understanding of the difference between a CME and a solar flare, take a look at this statement from NASA, “The flare is like the muzzle flash, which can be seen anywhere in the vicinity. The CME is like the cannonball, propelled forward in a single, preferential direction.”
As far as the recent solar storm is concerned, it is somehow mild. Back in 1859, we have experienced the most extreme solar storm that has been ever recorded, which is believed to have generated auroras that were visible almost across the whole globe. This storm, known as the Carrington Event, caused telegraph wires to burn.
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere