'Impossible' orange auroras spotted in UK after solar storm slams into Earth
21:24, Sunday, 03 December, 2023
Rarely seen orange auroras, which are supposed to be impossible to see, and a photobombing meteor recently shone above the U.K. after a "canyon of fire" solar storm smashed into Earth, stunning new images reveal. Photographer Graeme Whipps spotted the fiery auroras in the skies above Aberdeenshire in Scotland at around 6:00 p.m. local time on Nov. 25, Spaceweather.com reported. The unusual hues were an "incredible sight," Whipps told Spaceweather.com. They appeared during a peak of auroral activity that lasted for around one hour, he added. Whipps also snapped a meteor that streak across the sky at another point during the lightshow.
The auroras were part of a minor (G2) geomagnetic storm — a disturbance in Earth's magnetic field, or magnetosphere — that was triggered by a fast-moving cloud of magnetized plasma, known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), which smashed into Earth just before the auroras appeared.
The CME launched from a massive loop of plasma, or solar prominence, which snapped and flung off into space, leaving behind a massive valley in the solar surface known as a "canyon of fire." A similar fiery chasm was left behind by a solar eruption on Halloween.