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About Everything Wiki » Education » The Northern lights appeared in the sky over the southern cities. Why does this happen

The Northern lights appeared in the sky over the southern cities. Why does this happen

06 Jun 2023, 12:01, parser
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How the northern lights appear

The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis ("northern dawn"), is the glow that appears Aurora Borealis / World Meteorological Organization in the upper layers of the earth's atmosphere. It rarely happens south of the 60th geographical latitude.

The luminous sky effect occurs when a stream of electrically charged particles from the Sun reaches the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere. This happens every day — the solar wind "blows" always, because processes of electromagnetic interactions are constantly going on in our star.

Charged particles — usually electrons and protons — come into contact with the Earth's magnetic field. This field is not uniform geomagnetic field / Britannica . The lines of force come out of the north magnetic pole of the planet and enter it in the area of the south. Both poles are not far from the geographical ones, but they do not completely coincide with them.

Each magnetic pole is a power node with maximum field parameters. That is why it is in these places that the largest part of charged particles is collected. So—called auroral zones are formed around the nodes - areas Magnetosphere / Britannica , where auroras occur most often.

Solar particles that fall under the action of magnetic lines of force collide with atoms and molecules of rarefied atmospheric gases. Such contacts occur in the uppermost layers of the atmosphere. Nitrogen and oxygen atoms that have received a "blow" from solar electrons and protons are ionized. They are in an excited state for a while, and then they return to normal.

At the moment of the transition of atoms to a normal energy state, energy is released. Part of it turns into light radiation — that is, into a stream of photons. Its waves have different lengths, which means — and color.

It is these streams of light that we call the aurora borealis. In the sky there are Forms of the aurora / World Meteorological Organization arcs, narrow and wide stripes, rays, blurred glowing figures of green, sometimes bluish or yellowish, purple and pink shades.

Interestingly, in the Southern Hemisphere, a similar phenomenon is called aurora australis ("dawn of the south"). The mechanism of its formation is the same.

Why sometimes the northern lights can be seen even in the south

Our star's magnetic activity is changing all the time. There are periods when scientists almost do not observe its signs — spots and flashes on the Sun. But every 10-12 years the activity reaches How Scientists Around the World Track the Solar Cycle / NASA maximum. Powerful flares and coronal ejections amplify the flow of the solar wind. Its impact on the magnetosphere of our planet is also increasing. Then we regularly hear about disturbances and storms in the Earth's magnetosphere. During such periods, the northern lights can be seen even in areas far from the Arctic Circle. A similar peak is expected Solar Cycle 25 Is Here. NASA, NOAA Scientists Explain What That Means / NASA , for example, in July 2025.

But even during minimal activity, the solar wind occurs when coronal holes appear on the surface of the star. They become a source of a rapid flow of charged particles. If such a hole turns out to be in line with the Earth, we fall under the influence of the solar wind. This means that magnetic activity is increasing again on our planet. And the zones where solar particles gather expand south of the north magnetic pole and north of the south.

On April 21, an outbreak of class M occurred on the Sun. Scientists recorded Coronal mass ejection impact / SpaceWeatherLive powerful coronal mass ejection. Therefore, on the night of April 24, 2023, a powerful magnetic storm covered The earth was covered by a powerful magnetic storm / RIA Novosti Land. The degree of disturbance of the planet's magnetic field has reached the level of G4 — this is one step away from the maximum indicator of G5. Therefore, residents of not only northern cities saw the aurora borealis. Aurora borealis appeared in the sky over St. Petersburg The Northern lights are observed over St. Petersburg / RIA Novosti , Moscow The Northern lights appeared in the sky over Moscow / RIA Novosti , Ryazan An eyewitness reported the northern lights in the sky over Ryazan / RIA Novosti , Ulyanovsk Magnetic storm caused aurora over Ulyanovsk / Ulpressa and other regions.

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