A large hole in the sun's corona caused a strong geomagnetic storm that seriously damaged the Earth's magnetic field. This incident served as the catalyst for the magnificent Northern Lights display, which travelled to the US and was witnessed by millions of people.
Many states in the United States reported seeing the aurora borealis' dancing green brilliance.
Photos and videos of the aurora borealis started to flood the timelines of millions of social media users. Several accounts shared the visual shots by themselves.
Last night was nothing short of spectacular! The aurora borealis put on an unforgettable show. Below are three shots from Hallow Rock on the north shore of Minnesota. I have never seen this red of an aurora before, so many colors accompanying the normal green. #mnwx#aurorapic.twitter.com/oUXdXg9eVG— Jake Heitman (@HeitmanJake) March 24, 2023
HUGE aurora pop right through the big dipper up phere in Fairbanks, AK! This was insanely bright and colorful to the eye. Around 30 seconds in, the aurora goes from great to mind-blowingly spectacular. pic.twitter.com/eU036JKJAo— Vincent Ledvina (@Vincent_Ledvina) March 25, 2023
Witnessed literally the most insane aurora of my life tonight in Fairbanks. This was unreal. pic.twitter.com/D3b6YNqX31— Vincent Ledvina (@Vincent_Ledvina) March 24, 2023
Experts claim that the location of the oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere determines the colours visible in the sky. Nitrogen and oxygen are the main sources of green, red, and blue, respectively.
What Exactly Is an Aurora, and What Causes This to Occur?
According to NASA, if you're ever near the North or South Pole, you may be in for a very special treat. Frequently there are beautiful light shows in the sky. These lights are called auroras. If you're near the North Pole, it is called an aurora borealis or northern lights. If you're near the South Pole, it is called an aurora australis, or the southern lights.
Auroras are actually caused by the Sun. The Sun sends us more than heat and light; it sends lots of other energy and small particles our way. The protective magnetic field around Earth shields us from most of the energy and particles, and we don't even notice them.
But the sun doesn't send the same amount of energy all the time. There is a constant stream of solar wind, and there are also solar storms. During one kind of solar storm called a coronal mass ejection, the sun burps out a huge bubble of electrified gas that can travel through space at high speeds.
When a solar storm comes toward us, some of the energy and small particles can travel down the magnetic field lines at the north and south poles and into Earth's atmosphere. There, the particles interact with gases in our atmosphere, resulting in beautiful displays of light in the sky. Oxygen gives off green and red light. Nitrogen glows blue and purple.