Tuesday night saw the largest solar storm of this solar cycle. Two solar flares erupted from the sun on Sunday and created the Aurora that stretched across the Northern Hemisphere all the way up to Pennsylvania. The Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) struck the Earth’s magnetosphere much earlier than expected causing a rare and intense geomagnetic storm.
Auroras are caused by clashes of gaseous particles in Earth’s atmosphere.
This clash then forces electrons in the atoms to move to a higher-energy state.
As their energy levels drop, they release protons, or light.
“Although the sun is currently declining in activity from maximum that was predicted to have peaked in 2013, it goes to show that Solar Cycle 24 hasn’t finished with us quite yet.” News Discovery explains.
Scientists remind us that this storm is so intense, it far overshadows any that has come before it in our sun’s current cycle.
“Approximately every 11 years, the sun waxes and wanes in magnetic activity, culminating in solar maximum, when the solar magnetic field is so stressed that flares and CMEs are commonplace,” News Discovery explains.
Scientists continue to monitor this storm. Storms like these can have a major global impact.
They can overload powergrids and cause communication outages to satellite damage.
“The auroras were insane. I have never seen anything like this,” photographer Marketa Murray told Spaceweather.com Tuesday.
This one was taken on the ground in Alaska by Sebastian Saarloos
This is the Vine taken by NASA, “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Green from space. “