Berliner Boersenzeitung - Dazzling auroras fade from skies as sunspot turns away

EUR -
AED 3.986748
AFN 77.996197
ALL 100.365182
AMD 421.557787
ANG 1.95626
AOA 923.14689
ARS 966.011532
AUD 1.633389
AWG 1.956454
AZN 1.846125
BAM 1.957461
BBD 2.19166
BDT 127.318058
BGN 1.957327
BHD 0.409189
BIF 3115.644326
BMD 1.085411
BND 1.464643
BOB 7.500366
BRL 5.574893
BSD 1.085421
BTN 90.334669
BWP 14.7275
BYN 3.552215
BYR 21274.059831
BZD 2.187957
CAD 1.483258
CDF 3039.151129
CHF 0.990651
CLF 0.035753
CLP 986.537299
CNY 7.864238
CNH 7.869226
COP 4155.637943
CRC 556.572377
CUC 1.085411
CUP 28.763397
CVE 110.358664
CZK 24.735654
DJF 193.264028
DKK 7.462523
DOP 63.804152
DZD 145.994281
EGP 51.159885
ERN 16.281168
ETB 62.364731
FJD 2.459655
FKP 0.864095
GBP 0.851788
GEL 2.952496
GGP 0.864095
GHS 15.793404
GIP 0.864095
GMD 73.536458
GNF 9330.919386
GTQ 8.434158
GYD 227.212841
HKD 8.474836
HNL 26.825768
HRK 7.576123
HTG 144.362524
HUF 387.075024
IDR 17397.513673
ILS 3.986113
IMP 0.864095
INR 90.346319
IQD 1421.906808
IRR 45655.11147
ISK 150.11003
JEP 0.864095
JMD 169.483845
JOD 0.76945
JPY 169.905933
KES 143.826411
KGS 95.510649
KHR 4425.756251
KMF 493.699306
KPW 976.869766
KRW 1476.755698
KWD 0.333145
KYD 0.904568
KZT 480.888142
LAK 23208.697807
LBP 97201.69753
LKR 325.746469
LRD 210.108486
LSL 19.852395
LTL 3.204937
LVL 0.656554
LYD 5.252458
MAD 10.796663
MDL 19.190287
MGA 4807.07989
MKD 61.658242
MMK 2279.434614
MNT 3744.668449
MOP 8.729109
MRU 43.123504
MUR 50.219541
MVR 16.769945
MWK 1881.997299
MXN 18.054567
MYR 5.106312
MZN 68.857518
NAD 19.852024
NGN 1571.135982
NIO 39.95391
NOK 11.516571
NPR 144.535671
NZD 1.770235
OMR 0.417689
PAB 1.085421
PEN 4.051138
PGK 4.21858
PHP 63.084211
PKR 302.079683
PLN 4.2636
PYG 8162.928083
QAR 3.952253
RON 4.975536
RSD 117.139783
RUB 97.899594
RWF 1427.311395
SAR 4.070955
SBD 9.226246
SCR 14.643782
SDG 652.332799
SEK 11.592951
SGD 1.463676
SHP 1.371363
SLE 24.798719
SLL 22760.531511
SOS 619.769899
SRD 35.287083
STD 22465.820731
SVC 9.498061
SYP 2727.128085
SZL 19.938923
THB 39.609365
TJS 11.690222
TMT 3.798939
TND 3.388107
TOP 2.567377
TRY 34.970093
TTD 7.366252
TWD 34.937543
TZS 2822.195081
UAH 43.360101
UGX 4151.523503
USD 1.085411
UYU 41.575286
UZS 13811.722357
VEF 3931959.150861
VES 39.618315
VND 27644.880962
VUV 128.862179
WST 3.042509
XAF 656.5142
XAG 0.035392
XAU 0.000458
XCD 2.933378
XDR 0.819996
XOF 656.5142
XPF 119.331742
YER 271.787948
ZAR 19.912694
ZMK 9770.002049
ZMW 28.73739
ZWL 349.501969
  • CMSC

    -0.2800

    24.22

    -1.16%

  • RBGPF

    1.3300

    57.61

    +2.31%

  • BCC

    0.0300

    136.88

    +0.02%

  • NGG

    -7.7200

    64.27

    -12.01%

  • RELX

    0.0700

    44.43

    +0.16%

  • BTI

    -0.4200

    30.94

    -1.36%

  • GSK

    -0.6650

    45.115

    -1.47%

  • RIO

    -0.0650

    72.155

    -0.09%

  • RYCEF

    0.2290

    5.649

    +4.05%

  • JRI

    -0.0910

    11.419

    -0.8%

  • BCE

    -0.2500

    33.9

    -0.74%

  • BP

    0.1350

    36.695

    +0.37%

  • CMSD

    -0.2300

    24.03

    -0.96%

  • VOD

    -0.1280

    9.392

    -1.36%

  • SCS

    -0.0400

    13.17

    -0.3%

  • AZN

    0.2450

    79.045

    +0.31%

Dazzling auroras fade from skies as sunspot turns away
Dazzling auroras fade from skies as sunspot turns away / Photo: Geoff Robins - AFP

Dazzling auroras fade from skies as sunspot turns away

The spectacular auroras that danced across the sky in many parts of the world over the weekend are fading, scientists said Monday, as the massive sunspot that caused them turns its ferocious gaze away from Earth.

Text size:

Since Friday, the most powerful solar storm to strike our planet in more than two decades has lit up night skies with dazzling auroras in the United States, Tasmania, the Bahamas and other places far from the extreme latitudes where they are normally seen.

But Eric Lagadec, an astrophysicist at France's Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur, told AFP that the "most spectacular" period of this rare event has come to an end.

The first of several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) -- expulsions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun -- came just after 1600 GMT Friday, according to the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The event was later upgraded to an "extreme" geomagnetic storm -- the first since the "Halloween Storms" of October 2003 that caused blackouts in Sweden and damaged power infrastructure in South Africa.

Excitement over the phenomenon -- and otherworldly photos of pink, green and purple night skies -- broke out across the world, from Austria to Australia's island state of Tasmania.

The storm had been forecast to intensify again until 0600 GMT Monday, the NOAA said, adding that auroras could be viewable as far south as New York.

But thousands of people who came out on Sunday night in the hope of seeing the aurora borealis over the Joshua Tree National Park in California instead saw the Milky Way. AFP pictures showed stars shining clearly in the night sky.

- 'Monster sunspot' -

Lagadec said that while there were further solar outbursts on Sunday, it is unlikely that more auroras will be visible to the naked eye in lower latitudes such as in France.

"Only the most experienced photographers will be able to capture them" in such areas, said Lagadec, who was moved by witnessing an aurora during the event's peak on Friday night.

The solar storm emanated from a massive sunspot cluster that is 17 times wider than our planet.

The storm has not ended, and auroras are expected to continue in the far northern or southern regions where they are normally visible.

But "the source of the storm is a sunspot that is now on the edge of the Sun, (so) we do not expect the next coronal mass ejections to head in Earth's direction," Lagadec said.

Scientists had already warned that the intensity of anything seen on Sunday night would unlikely reach the level of Friday's show.

"This is likely the last of the Earth-directed CMEs from this particular monster sunspot," Mathew Owens, a professor of space physics at the UK's University of Reading, told AFP.

When charged particles from solar winds are captured by Earth's magnetic field, they accelerate towards the planet's magnetic poles, which is why auroras are normally seen there.

But during periods of heightened solar activity, the effects extend farther toward the equator.

- Satellites weathered storm -

Unlike during 2003's solar storms, no major disruptions to power or communications networks appear to have been reported this time around.

Elon Musk's satellite internet operator Starlink said on X that its thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit had "weathered the geomagnetic storm and remain healthy".

Unlike solar flares, which travel at the speed of light and reach Earth in around eight minutes, CMEs travel at a more sedate pace, with officials putting the current average at 800 kilometers (500 miles) per second.

People with eclipse glasses can still look for the sunspot cluster during the day.

Fluctuating magnetic fields associated with geomagnetic storms induce currents in long wires, including power lines, which can lead to blackouts. Long pipelines can also become electrified.

Spacecraft are at risk from high doses of radiation, although the atmosphere prevents this from reaching Earth.

Even pigeons and other species that have internal biological compasses can be affected.

(A.Berg--BBZ)