Solar Storm Causes Auroras That Wowed People Across Scandinavia Over the Weekend

@MarkusHibbeler via Twitter

The northern lights are caused by charged particles. When these particles enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they interfere with the magnetic field that’s naturally found in the atmosphere of our home plant. As a result, they cause auroras which we commonly know as the northern lights, or if you’re closer to the south pole, the southern lights.

When we think of the northern lights, we think of the beautiful colors in the sky that can usually only be seen in locations near the north pole; however, sometimes these magical lights in the sky can be seen further south.

It is possible for these auroras to occur further south than usual, but it is rare. Over this past weekend, residents in Scandinavia and even in parts of the U.K. were in for a special treat. There was a geomagnetic storm this weekend. This kind of storm does not result in rain and thunder. Instead, anyone who looked up at the sky on Sunday night was treated to a beautiful aurora.

Many people took pictures of the auroras they saw and shared them on Twitter.

U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) described this geomagnetic storm as a G2 level storm on a scale where a G1 storm is the most minor type of storm and a G5 is most severe type of storm. Although beautiful, SWPC warned that the storm could cause a few problems, such as radio interference and power-grid fluctuations.

This geomagnetic storm may last through Tuesday, but it will be downgraded to a G1 by then.

Have you ever seen the northern lights? Did you know that auroras could be seen as far south as the U.K.?