Just as predicted by Space Weather forecasters, a direct hit with Earth’s magnetic field on or around New Year’s Eve sparked some natural fireworks in the upper atmosphere giving us an amazing spectacle to say goodbye to 2015.
The solar storm was caused by eruption of a big sunspot cluster on December 28th. The extreme-ultraviolet radiation washed over our upper atmosphere, initiating an ionization event that caused a radio blackout over South America, Africa and the south Atlantic Ocean. The storm hit Earth on December 30th and 31st.
Terry Onsager, a NOAA physicist said northern lights were certainly possible. For a geomagnetic storm to occur, NOAA explains that other factors such as the direction of the solar winds must be just right.
While a geomagnetic storm might sound dangerous, authorities note there is nothing to worry about this particular one “These storms don’t pose any threat, but they can sometimes disrupt communications technology, particularly those that use high frequencies like HAM radios.” CNET explains
The Space Weather Prediction Center at NOAA said that the geomagnetic activity caused by the passage of December 28th coronal mass ejection has begun to subside and the near-Earth solar wind environment is returning to normal levels.
However, a positive polarity coronal hole in the northern hemisphere is expected to cause periods of active geomagnetic field activity January 2nd and 3rd. This means that people in the right latitudes may be able to view the Northern Lights again though the show might not be as great as the one that is being reported now.
People from around the world have reported seeing the auroras Borealis in some parts of Canada, US, Ireland. Several pictures of the night sky activities have been posted on twitter.
The sky treated us with many amazing spectacles. An asteroid for Halloween, a full moon for Christmas and earlier this year, bright displays of the Northern Lights were photographed over Derwentwater, near Keswick in the Lake District, Penmon on Anglesey and Pendle Hill in Lancashire.
Source: Space Weather