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Solstorm triggered a spectacular light show on the night of Saturday

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In this long-exposure photo, a car drives by and lights up poplar trees as the northern lights glow in the night sky above the village of Daillens in Switzerland, early Saturday, May 11, 2024. Photo: Laurent Gillieron / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 11.05.2024 06:04:04

Science and technology: The Northern Lights were visible as far south as Switzerland on the night of Saturday. Pictures of the northern lights from Northern Europe poured in on social media.

Wednesday was the vernal equinox and perfect conditions for the northern lights. There is, on average, more northern lights around the autumnal equinox and spring equinox, according to subject manager for space research Pål Brekke at the Norwegian Space Centre.

Brekke explains that during the autumn and spring equinoxes, the Earth’s magnetic poles are at right angles to the flow of the solar wind, which makes the solar wind and solar storms more effective. It then becomes an optimal position to receive charged particles from the sun and thus generate strong northern lights.

The first of several coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — ejections of plasma and magnetic fields from the sun — occurred Friday afternoon, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center.

It is expected that several CMEs will hit the Earth in the coming days.

(© NTB)

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