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Why is it that the recent aurora borealis has been seen in areas that do not see them?

Why is it that the recent aurora borealis has been seen in areas that do not see them?

Why is it that the recent aurora borealis has been seen in areas that do not see them?

In recent days, there has been intense solar activity with consecutive coronal mass ejections (CMEs), resulting in significant and severe geomagnetic storms. During this period, the influx of charged particles from the solar wind into the polar regions has significantly increased, expanding the latitude range affected by Earth's magnetic field. As a result, the Northern Lights have become more intense and have been observed at lower latitudes.

There could be a few reasons why the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, may be visible in regions where they are not commonly seen:

Multiple consecutive coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were directed towards Earth. These intense solar events released a large number of charged particles into the Earth's atmosphere, enhancing the visibility of the aurora. Some CMEs caught up with each other, resulting in a reinforcement and intensification of the geomagnetic storms caused by these eruptions.

The KP index, which measures geomagnetic activity, reached a level of 9, indicating a significant geomagnetic storm (G5) - the highest possible level. Typically, even a KP 6 can result in aurora sightings in specific regions, but a KP 9 is exceptionally rare and leads to widespread visibility.

The orientation of the incoming storm's magnetic field, known as the Bz value, played a vital role. A negative Bz value indicates a magnetic field orientation opposite to that of Earth's magnetic field, causing charged particles to be pulled towards Earth and increasing the likelihood of aurora displays. During this event, the Bz value was significantly negative.

The timing of these events coincided with nightfall in Canada, providing optimal viewing conditions for observers in those areas. Clear skies allowed for an unobstructed view of the Northern Lights, further enhancing the experience for some observers.

All of these factors combined to create a breathtaking spectacle of the Northern Lights in locations where they are not typically seen.


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