Earth photos

Red Aurora crown. Earth's sky

Red Aurora crown. Earth's sky

Few auroras show this level of detail. This unusual vision of an aurora crown occurred on Earth three days after an unusual solar event, the fifth strongest explosion ever recorded on the Sun.

A solar glare of class X14 on April 15, 2002 sent a tremendous Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) to the Solar System. This CME did not directly impact the Earth. The expansion wave of the Solar System's width probably created an impact, causing a geomagnetic storm of class G3 and a night full of colorful auroras throughout northern North America.

The unusual red color of this aurora in Michigan is caused by solar ions colliding with oxygen molecules 300 km high in the Earth's atmosphere. The most typical green auroras are caused when oxygen recombines only 100 km high.

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