Northern Lights seen from faraway lands in May 2024

As the world slept, the night sky of May 2024 came alive with a celestial display of the aurora borealis, visible far beyond its usual confines. Triggered by the most powerful solar storm in over two decades, the northern lights painted the heavens with an otherworldly palette of colours. Usually seen closer to the Arctic Circle, this time, residents of mainland Europe, America’s East Coast and faraway land like Ladakh in India too had a glimpse of this magnificent spectacle.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>Auroras are natural light displays that occur when charged particles from the sun collide with atoms in Earth’s atmosphere. This collision causes the atoms to become excited, releasing photons, which we see as the colourful lights.

>The colours of the aurora depend on the type of gas molecules involved and the altitude at which the collisions occur. Oxygen molecules, for example, can produce green or red auroras, while nitrogen can create blue or purple hues.

>The phenomenon was studied by ancient astronomers too and was named for the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and the Greek god of the north wind, Boreas. In the southern hemisphere, this phenomenon is known as Aurora Australis, the southern lights.

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