St. Patrick’s Day: Nature’s solar storm created mesmerizing light show for celebration

On Tuesday night, people in the United Kingdom saw a powerful solar storm creating an amazing light show. The spectacular event, which is referred to as Aurora Borealis by experts, was visible primarily in the northern territories of the UK; it was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people in northern England, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland.

Reports suggest that the event was partially visible even to people living in southern territories like mid Wales and Midlands, but light pollution and a thick cloud cover prevented the residents of those areas from having a clear view of the display.


For those who don’t know: The United Kingdom is not the only place to have enjoyed the scintillating light display. The event was visible in a number of other parts of the world including countries like Alaska, Canada and Scandinavia.

St. Patricks Day Auroras 2

It’s true that there are several myths surrounding this event, but there’s a clear scientific explanation too. Auroras take place when charged solar particles come in contact with the earth’s atmosphere. The solar particles light up the dark skies of the night, and we get to see some wonderful light displays.


The magnetic field surrounding our planet funnels the solar particles towards the two poles. As a result, auroras are most frequently visible in places located at high latitudes. Explosions that are directed towards our planet are capable of causing stunning auroras even in the skies of southern territories.

Tuesday’s event was the result of an extremely large explosion on the sun’s surface; the incident triggered formation of a huge quantity of charged solar particles. The scientific term used for these solar explosions is Coronal Mass Ejections or CMEs.

Although, at this moment, no more geomagnetic activities are taking place around us, experts are saying that some places in northern Scotland might witness an aurora even on Wednesday. However, there will be constant cloud cover in the sky; as a result, the view will not be as clear as it was on Tuesday.


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