Brayden Jones

This photo was taken with a ten-second exposure. This was taken in Zions Crossroads 4/27.

Weather by Brayden: Northern lights

 Due to the strong geomagnetic storm that impacted Earth last night, the Aurora Borealis (Northern lights) were visible all the way to Arizona.  A geomagnetic storm is a disturbance in the Earth’s magnetic field that is caused by solar wind, which is a stream of charged particles that is constantly flowing outward from the Sun. When the solar wind collides with the Earth’s magnetic field, it can cause fluctuations in the field that can result in a range of effects, from mild auroras to major disruptions of power grids and communication systems.

Geomagnetic storms are associated with solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs),  which are massive eruptions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun. When a CME or solar flare is particularly strong, it can send a shockwave through the solar wind which causes a geomagnetic storm on Earth.

The severity of a geomagnetic storm is measured on a scale called the Kp index, which ranges from 0 to 9. 0 being the lowest and 9 being the highest. While a Kp index of 9 is somewhat rare and would likely cause significant disruptions to power grids, communication systems, and satellite operations. During last night’s geomagnetic storm the Kp index was a 9 and it was beginning to cause disruptions to the power infrastructure in Canada.

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