Solar storms are giving us a natural phenomenon in North Lights as radiation is bombarding the Earth and lighting up the sky.
Over the past week, these fantastic displays by solar storms can be seen as Northern Lights in Norway, Iceland and other parts of the world. These are the biggest displays in more than six years as Earth gets bombarded with radiation. The colorful rays in the sky are also known as aurora borealis.
This phenomenon occurs when particles from the sun interact with our atmosphere – and create spectacular displays of green light – and if it wasn’t for the atmosphere, we would all be scorched by those particles.
These particles stream away from the sun at speeds of about 1million mph after events called ‘coronal mass ejections’ on the sun’s surface, and are drawn to Earth’s northern and southern poles by its magnetic field.
Which atoms the electrons encounter when they hit the Earth — either oxygen or nitrogen — and the altitude at which they meet, determine whether the colours are green, red, blue or purple.
The lights have been seen so far south because the solar explosion that sent out the particles was particularly strong.
The Northern Lights are sometimes seenfrom northern parts of Scotland but the unusual recent solar activity means the lights have also been visible from as far south as northeast England, a rarity.
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 powerlines, and interference in the broadcast of radio, TV and telephone signals.
Radiation from last Sunday’s flare arrivedat Earth an hour later.
NOAA experts said the levels were considered strong but other storms have been moresevere.
There are two higher levels of radiation on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s stormscale of ‘severe’ and ‘extreme’, space weather centre physicist Doug Biesecker said.
The recent solar storm was 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.