A major solar explosion and geomagnetic storm over the weekend resulted in the incredible display of northern lights also known as the aurora borealis. They were mainly visible across Northern Europe and North America.
On Sunday, during the summer solstice, a major blast on the sun sent coronal mass ejections in our direction, which reached Earth on Monday afternoon.
The geomagnetic storm could go on throughout Tuesday, so there is still a chance to catch a glimpse of the impressive light show.
The Video below by jarrod Castaing, shows an impromptu timelapse of the Aurora Australis over Sydney’s Northern Beaches 23 June 2015 at 5am.
The aurora is caused by interactions between the Earth’s magnetic field and charged particles blasted toward us by powerful explosions in the sun’s atmosphere. What causes these solar explosions isn’t well understood by scientists, but they often occur near big sunspots.
The aurora themselves are totally harmless, but other associated effects from a particularly large geomagnetic storm like this one include radio outages, electrical power surges, and slightly less accurate satellite navigation. A truly monstrous geomagnetic storm, like the one that happened in 1859, could wipe out nearly every electrical circuit on whatever side of the Earth was unlucky enough to be facing the sun at that inopportune moment.
If you don’t see anything Monday night, try again on Tuesday night. And if that fails, watch photos stream in from around the world on one of my favorite websites, spaceweather.com.