Several small cracks have temporarily opened in Earth’s magnetic shield, astronomers have revealed. The phenomenon is relatively common and occurs when Earth is under an intense barrage of solar particles. Earth is now in the midst of the aftermath of a solar storm – which is seeing a barrage of particles hit our planet after travelling from the Sun – which allowed the cracks to open.
As a result, stunning auroras have been sparked in the northern reaches of our planet, with Arctic sky watchers filming the phenomenon.
Astronomy site Space Weather said: “Minor cracks are opening in Earth’s magnetic field today, Feb. 16th.
“Solar wind pouring through the gaps is sparking auroras around the Arctic Circle–no geomagnetic storm required.
“The solar wind speed is currently trending upward, so more lights could be in the offing tonight.
“A live aurora webcam just recorded these dancing ribbons over Sweden’s Abisko National Park.”
Chad Blakley of Lights of Lapland, which filmed the spectacle, is quoted by Space Weather as saying: “It was a beautiful show.
“We are now broadcasting live video from Abisko around the clock, 24/7, so you can always tune in and see what’s happening inside the Arctic Circle.”
A live stream can be found on the Lights of Lapland website.
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Solar winds can heat the Earth’s outer atmosphere, causing it to expand.
This can affect satellites in orbit, potentially leading to a lack of GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV such as Sky.
Additionally, a surge of particles can lead to high currents in the magnetosphere, which can lead to higher than normal electricity in power lines, resulting in electrical transformers and power stations blowouts and a loss of power.