Tonight we may see aurora borealis – Earth – Science and technology

According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Authority), we will have high chances of observing aurora borealis from medium latitudes, ie from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, on the night from Saturday to Sunday (from 30 to 31 October).

30.10.2021 08:04


Bright aurora borealis in Tromsø.

The glow is the result of the interaction of a dense cloud of charged particles with the Earth’s atmosphere. The cloud broke away from the Sun during an extraordinarily strong eruption that occurred on October 28 at 17:35 CEST. If the geomagnetic storm is as strong as astronomers predict, the glows observable from our extremities low above the northern horizon will most likely be after dark. But watching them pays off throughout the night.

Astronomers thus predict strong Arctic aurora borealis, which could be visible from the Czech Republic and Slovakia at increased intensity, at night from Saturday to Sunday. The weather forecast is very good so far, moreover, its light will not disturb the Moon, which rises in the second half of the night.

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For observation, it is necessary to find a place with a perfect view to the north, undisturbed by light pollution. And keep an eye on some online auroral monitor, for example SolarHam. Of all the indicators, the most important is the so-called Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), which must be negative for the generation of significant auroras (graph on the SolarHam website at the very bottom – red line). The second important indicator is the value of Kp, which indicates at what intensity of the geomagnetic storm the aurora borealis is observable from what latitudes. In the case of a value of 6, they are visible low above the northern horizon, from a value of 7 above they reach high above the horizon.

Strong eruptions in the sun.

Auroras are caused by the interaction of charged particles traveling continuously from the Sun with molecules and air atoms in the Earth’s high atmosphere. They commonly occur between 80 and 150 km, more rarely up to 400 km above the earth’s surface. Behind the interaction are specific protons, electrons and so-called alpha particles (helium nuclei with two protons and two neutrons), which the Sun usually produces during strong eruptions in magnetically closed clouds (so-called plasmoids).

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The Earth has its own natural magnetic shield, thanks to which most of this life-threatening radiation is diverted. However, part of this solar material is trapped in the areas around the Earth’s magnetic poles, where the lines of force of the Earth’s magnetic field and thus the particles penetrate into our atmosphere. There, due to collisions with atoms and molecules of air, excitation (and ionization) and subsequent radiation in the form of visible light occurs.

In this way, we actually observe a rotting discharge in the Earth’s atmosphere, the shades of which correspond to specific values ​​of radiated energy. The most common green and red glow belong to excited oxygen, the rarer blue color then corresponds to ionized nitrogen.

Source: Pravda – Veda a technika by

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