Northern Lights: Solar storm causes spike in intensity

In the after effect of Sunday's summer solstice, Northern Lights this year were seen almost across the United States on Monday night.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: June 23, 2015 11:26 am
Northern Lights, Summer Solstice, Northern Lights USA, usa northern lights, northern lights washington, northern lights photos, northern lights 2015, summer solstice northern lights, northern lights summer solstice, northern lights tonight, northern lights tonight usa, usa news, world news, indian express Northern Lights as seen in Montana, USA on June 21, 2015. (Source: Spaceweathergallery)

Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are usually witnessed far up in the polar regions or the high altitude regions of Europe like Norway. But this year they were seen almost across the United States on Monday night.

The stronger intensity of the Lights this year was caused by a level 4 geomagnetic storm triggered by Sunday’s summer solstice coupled with a solar explosion that took place over the weekend. The geomagnetic storm ranked second on the five-point scale used to measure geomagnetic storms.

On Monday night,  people across United States — Wisconsin to Washington — caught a glimpse of the Northern Lights. States as far south as Oklahoma are also expected to see a faint glow in some places before these Lights fade away.

A solar storm of similar strength was experienced earlier this year in March where the Northern Lights were seen in the US states of Illinois, Ohio and New Jersey in addition to various places across Europe.

The Northern Lights occur as a result of charged particles from the sun’s cosmic rays entering earth’s atmosphere. The aurora gets its colour after these particles interact with different gases in the atmosphere. They usually occur near big sun spots.

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