Earlier this week, the largest solar flares since 2005 exploded off the sun. The large solar storm has created spectacular aurora borealis, or northern lights, over the last few nights in the northern hemisphere.
The Washington Post reports that experts warned that the solar flares could disrupt GPS signals, but the solar storm only registered as a 2 on a five point scale. Los Angeles geophysicist Yuri Shprits said that this solar storm is only the first of many to come. Shprits told the Standard:
“For a long time, we had one of the quietest periods of electromagnetic activity. After such a long time the sun is waking up and it’s big news.”
The increased solar activity has created spectacular night scenes. The Aurora Borealis have been wowing stargazers around the northern hemisphere. Ronn Murray, who chases aurora displays, said:
“I’ve been chasing for five years. And this is the best I’ve ever seen.”
Here are some videos of the Aurora Borealis from this week.
The Aurora Borealis peaked on Tuesday and should start diminishing over the next few days. Professor W. Jeffrey Hughes, director of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling at Boston University, said that the storm is just a taste of what we could experience in the next few years. Hughes told the Washington Post:
“In the last six years, we’ve gone through the quietest solar period in more than a 100 years… Activity should pick up over the next few years. This is the biggest taste of what’s going to come next year and 2014.”
So what causes the Aurora Borealis? Here’s a video from NASA explaining the phenomena.
Did you see the Aurora Borealis?