Astronaut spots rare 'red' Aurora Borealis as severe solar storm hits Earth

Normally we've only ever seen a green Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights, but on Monday astronaut Scott Kelly spotted the rare red Aurora Borealis. According to Space Weather Prediction centre, the geomagnetic storm that began on 22 June has reached G4 (Severe) levels once again on 23 June.

Astronaut Scott Kelly Twitter handle.

Astronaut Scott Kelly Twitter handle.

The solar tempest became "severe" when the storm hit an 8 on a 9-point-scale designed to measure the disturbances in Earth's magnetic field. The storm should continue at some level for a number of hours, according to the SWPC.

Nasa reported on Monday that the Sun had emitted a mid-level solar flare – essentially a powerful burst of radiation, giving astronaut Kelly the chance to take a picture of the rare sighting.

According to NASA, the colour of the aurora depends on which atom is struck, and the altitude of the meeting. Red auroras are rare and are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles.

So far we're loving this solar storm.

The aurora borealis occurs around the north magnetic pole when highly charged electrons from solar winds interact with elements in the earth's atmosphere, such as oxygen and nitrogen.

Updated Date: Jun 23, 2015 17:02 PM

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