Crack in Earth’s Magnetic Field Sparks Rare Blue Auroras, the Strangest Northern Lights in Years


A crack in Earth’s magnetic field opened on Februry 18, 2020, sparking some of the strangest auroras in years.

First, blue northern lights lit up the sky over the Lofoten Islands of Norway, before strangely shaped green northern lights electrified the night sky.

blue aurora, blue northern lights, blue aurora norway lofoten, blue aurora norway lofoten february 2020
Blue aurora by Matthew Steinberg on February 18, 2020 @ Reine, Lofoten Islands Norway. Picture via SpaceWeatherGallery

What for an amazing picture! The night show lasted 2 hours with a spectacular display of pale green, blue, and purple auroras over the mountains of Reine.

blue aurora, blue northern lights, blue aurora norway lofoten, blue aurora norway lofoten february 2020
Another picture of these bright blue northern lights electrifying the night sky of Reine, Lofoten, Norway on February 18, 2020. Photo via SpaceWeatherGallery

What are blue auroras and how do they form?

Blue auroras are rare.

The most common northern lights are green and red. They are produced when oxygen is excited by electrons raining down from space.

In contrast, blue auroras show the presence of nitrogen (N2+) and form at very high altitudes (> 400 km).

Normally, the blue color is faint, but look again at the pictures above. On February 18, the color was strangely vivid and intense.

Strange-shaped green auroras

A bit later in the night, the auroras turned green again. But they looked completely strange, like a weird rippling aurora arch:

strange aurora, strange shaped aurora, strange northern lights
strangely shaped auroras. Picture by Markus Varik on February 18, 2020 @ Tromsø.

This is the first time this aurora guide had seen such amazing twist. The show was so different than the usual northern lights arcs. Truly magic!

But keep your eyes to the sky. The aurora show isn’t finished yet! A G1-class geomagnetic storm is underway on February 19. So if you are currently stuck up north you could enjoy some pretty wild colors in night sky. More strange sky events on Strange Sounds and Steve Quayle. [SpaceWeather]

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1 Comment

  1. If Russia hell bomb Turkey of course we see magnetic field changes. The Syrian army has boxed in 9 of the 12 Turkish outposts set up in the northwest province of Idlib, as both armies prepare for a final showdown over the last Syrian province still holding out against the Assad regime.

    Ankara beefed up its Idlib outposts in the eastern sector of the province after Syrian shelling killed eight Turkish troops and the Syrian army reached the southern outskirts of Idlib city.

    On Saturday, Feb. 8, a high-ranking Russian delegation arrived in Ankara to try and avert an all-out confrontation between the Turkish and Syrian armies over Idlib. On Friday night, meanwhile, the Turkish army boosted its strength with reinforcements. A large convoy of 150 APCs carrying special Turkish commando forces crossed the border and the Turkish army was placed on war readiness. They were acting out President Recep Erdogan’s vow on Tuesday not to allow Syrian forces to gain additional territory in Idlib province.

    But two days later he faced the embarrassment of Syrian military gains. The Syrians reacted to this threat by pushing into the southern outskirts of Idlib City and capturing Maarat al-Numan and Saraqib from pro-Turkish Syrian rebels, with the help of Afghan Shiite militias under the command of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers and the support of heavy Russian aerial bombardments. The two strategic towns control the M4 and M5 northern highway links to Aleppo and Damascus.

    Erdogan threatened Moscow that if the Syrian push continued with Russian air force support, the Astana pact, which Moscow initiated two years ago between Russia, Turkey and Iran for an agreed political resolution of the Syrian conflict, would fall apart. The Idlib battles have already generated a mass outflow of refugees from the province. Erdogan has threatened that if the Syrian army continues its campaign, he would not stop an estimated outflow of 1.5 to 3 million refugees expected to surge into Turkey from reaching Europe.

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