On June 16 and 17 a particularly strong cloud of charged particles slammed into Earth’s magnetic field and spawned an amazing display of northern and southern lights. The colours were particularly vivid and rare – with many reporting sightings of purple and blue auroras – where are indicative of more intense charged particles penetrating deeper in the atmosphere and hitting nitrogen atoms in the lower atmosphere.
BTW – we are heading towards the solar maximum early 2013 when the sun reaches peak activity in its 11 year cycle. So what this means for skywatchers is that we are on the upswing for auroral activity
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