Northern lights don’t usually reach this far south. Magnetic chaos in the Sun’s huge Active Region 3664, however, produced a surface explosion that sent a burst of electrons, protons, and more massive, charged nuclei into the Solar System. A few days later, that coronal mass ejection (CME) impacted the Earth and triggered auroras that are being reported unusually far from our planet’s north and south poles. The free sky show might not be over — the sunspot rich AR3664 has ejected even more CMEs that might also impact the Earth tonight or tomorrow. That active region is now near the Sun’s edge, though, and will soon be rotating away from the Earth. Pictured, a red and rayed aurora was captured in a single 6-second exposure from Racibórz, Poland early last night. The photographer’s friend, seeing an aurora for the first time, is visible in the distance also taking images of the beautifully colorful nighttime sky. via NASA

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