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Yesterday’s solar flare sent out a huge cloud of charged solar particles our way, and this afternoon it impacted our magnetosphere… sparking a brilliant display of aurorae in northern skies such as those above the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko, Sweden.
The video above is a time-lapse made from still photos taken by the Sky Station’s camera at about 10-minute intervals just after the Sun set on Jan. 24. Bright green aurorae – the result of oxygen ions in the upper atmosphere interacting with Earth’s magnetic field, which in turn had interacted with the magnetically-charged solar storm – appear in hazy swirls and curtains… slowly at first but soon building to quite a brilliant display!
One clue that auroral activity is particularly energetic – thus likely due to a storm event – is the appearance of colors besides green. (Thanks Daniel Fischer.) Reds, blues and purples are the result of different sorts of ions in different levels of the atmosphere, excited into higher states by the extra-strong reverberations of Earth’s magnetic field lines.
Also it may cause the aurorae to spread down over lower latitudes.
This activity may last well into the evening, so if you have a clear, dark sky above, be sure to look up tonight… who knows, you may be treated to a surprise show!
Video assembled by J. Major. Images courtesy of the Aurora Sky Station.