Ladakh skies witnessing rare Aurora Borealis amid intense solar storms

Rare Aurora Borealis sighted over India's Ladakh region.
Rare Aurora Borealis sighted over Ladakh. Photo Courtesy:

An astounding display of the northern lights and southern lights has fascinated people worldwide after powerful solar storms impacted the Earth, illuminating the night sky with vivid hues.

This enchanting occurrence was observed across various geographical regions on Friday, including Ladakh’s Hanle Dark Sky Reserve, where a striking red auroral arc was seen.

These phenomena, characterised by a band of reddish light in the sky, are uncommon events distinct from traditional auroras by their static nature and fixed colour.

Such arcs manifest uniquely during strong geomagnetic storms. Auroras, natural light displays in Earth’s atmosphere, are mainly visible in high-latitude areas near the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

They result from disruptions in the magnetosphere induced by solar wind activity.

Hanle, typically a secluded area, was treated to a hypnotic spectacle as the aurora borealis gracefully danced overhead.

Russia, Australia, and Germany also witnessed this rare event, stemming from the interaction between solar-charged particles and Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere.

In Australia, the southern lights, or aurora australis, dazzled onlookers with their vibrant red and purple hues, casting a spellbinding display across the night sky.

Tasmania, in particular, was treated to an exceptional show, prompting photographers to capture stunning images of the aurora australis gracefully pirouetting overhead.

In Russia, the aurora borealis sparkled the night sky with its signature shimmering curtains, enchanting observers with its ethereal beauty.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the northern regions were treated to the mesmerizing sight of the aurora borealis, casting an otherworldly glow across the landscape.

This awe-inspiring site took place by a strong solar storm triggered by a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun, which unleashed a tremendous surge of energy into the cosmos. These charged particles intermingled with Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, culminating in the enchanting light show witnessed by onlookers.

Five colossal Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), the most substantial solar eruptions, have propelled an immense mass of plasma and materials through the solar system, with projections indicating their imminent passage by Earth over the weekend.

Researchers are closely monitoring the progression of sunspot AR3664 as it expands in size, now rivalling the historic Carrington sunspot observed in the 1800s.

This sunspot is the focal point for all five coronal mass ejections currently heading towards Earth.

A coronagraph movie, obtained by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, has captured these massive eruptions as they emanate from the surface of the Sun.