Friday June 14, 2024

Most powerful auroras in 500 years are happening now

Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis are likely most strongest in 500 years

By Web Desk
May 21, 2024
Earth may be seeing strongest auroras in 500 years. — Freepik/File
Earth may be seeing strongest auroras in 500 years. — Freepik/File

Earthlings may have witnessed some of the strongest auroras in 500 years.

Two weekends ago, the auroral displays that graced sky gazers around the world, including people as far south as Florida in the US and Ladakh in northern India, are likely to have been among the strongest shows of light since record-keeping started, according to Space.

"With reports of auroras visible to as low as 26 degrees magnetic latitude, this recent storm may compete with some of the lowest-latitude aurora sightings on record over the past five centuries, though scientists are still assessing this ranking," Nasa officials said in a statement.

"It's a little hard to gauge storms over time because our technology is always changing," Delores Knipp, a research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder said in the same statement. 

"Aurora visibility is not the perfect measure, but it allows us to compare over centuries."

Only in high-latitude areas such as the Arctic and northern Canada, the northern and southern lights are usually a spectacle. 

However, the vibrant colours travelled toward the equator on May 10 due to a rare G5 geomagnetic storm caused by our hyperactive Sun a few days earlier. Since Halloween of 2003, it was the strongest to hit our planet.