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Rare Auroras Detected Following Geomagnetic Storm

Rare Auroras Detected Following Geomagnetic Storm

Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 - 06:45
A tourist takes photos of an Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) over the Bals-Fiord north of the Arctic Circle, near the village of Mestervik, Norway, on September 30, 2014. Reuters/Yannis Behrakis
Cairo - Hazem Badr
Aurora Lights are usually green, sometimes red. However, the geomagnetic storm that hit the Earth On Friday night produced a different and rare color: blue.

The Space Weather website, which shared a picture of the rare light seen in Canada and the US on Sunday, reported that blue auroras are most often seen during intense geomagnetic storms, yet this was a relatively minor one.

Auroras occur when electrons and protons of a geomagnetic storm meet oxygen and nitrogen of the atmosphere. Usually, the colors seen in the sky are those produced by oxygen, yet why nitrogen-blue overtopped the hues of oxygen this time is unclear, the website reported.

When electrons and protons in geomagnetic storms meet oxygen at a height of about 60 miles, a yellow light is produced, while a red light is produced at a higher altitude (about 200 miles). Natural nitrogen produces a red violet light, while the blue aurora results from ionic nitrogen.

According to Space Weather, "In Friday's storm, the electrons and protons stroked the ionized molecular nitrogen (N2+) at very high altitudes and produced a blue glow rarely seen during auroral displays."

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