Thursday, July 18, 2024

Rare Arctic aurora of 2022 was ‘polar rain’ of electrons: scientists

The truth has come to light.

Scientists have finally determined what caused a rare polar rain aurora that lit up the skies over the Arctic back on Christmas Day in 2022.

Researchers from the US and Japan determined the aurora, which did not move and possessed no discernable pattern, was the result of a “rainstorm” of electrons funneled from the sun.

Typically, aurora displays pulsate and churn.

A picture of the Northern Lights over Norway, which pulsates and churns, unlike the rare “polar rain” that has puzzled scientists since Christmas 2022. Felix Pergande – stock.adobe.com

It was the first time such an aurora was seen from the Earth’s surface, which is why it took so long for researchers to determine what actually happened.

It occurred at a time when solar wind gusts had subsided.

The dwindling solar winds allowed “an intense flux of electrons” to reach the atmosphere, creating the polar rain aurora, reads the research paper on the findings.

The stream of charged particles traveled from the sun to the Earth, becoming trapped in its magnetic field, according to Space.com.


An aurora borealis.
The electrons flowed down the magnetic field lines to the Earth’s poles, and along the way, interacted with molecules in the atmosphere, causing the familiar aurora glow. Michal – stock.adobe.com

Those caught electrons flowed down the magnetic field lines to the Earth’s poles, and along the way, interacted with molecules in the atmosphere, causing the familiar aurora glow.

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