Northern Lights Spotted in Turkey! What is a Geomagnetic Storm and How Does It Form?
Northern Lights were seen in many regions in Türkiye and Europe. This extraordinary natural event occurred as a result of a powerful geomagnetic storm hitting the Earth. So, what is a geomagnetic storm, how does it occur and what effects does it have?
Geomagnetic Storm, Solar Wind and Magnetic Field Cloud
A geomagnetic storm is also known as a solar storm. The Sun constantly emits high-energy particles into space, creating a current called the solar wind. These particles interact with the Earth's magnetic field and create a temporary disruption in the Earth's magnetosphere. This disruption is called a geomagnetic storm.
The intensity of geomagnetic storms depends on the speed and intensity of the solar wind and the direction of the magnetic field. The solar wind varies with events such as solar explosions, spots and mass ejections. These events add large, dense masses of particles called magnetic field clouds to the solar wind. If the magnetic field cloud is in the opposite direction to the Earth's magnetic field, the geomagnetic storm will be stronger.
What are the Effects of Geomagnetic Storms?
Because geomagnetic storms affect the Earth's magnetic field, they can cause problems in many systems that depend on the magnetic field. For example, geomagnetic storms can overload power grids, causing power outages, disruptions to satellite communications and navigation systems, attenuation of radio signals, and damage to spacecraft.
Geomagnetic storms are also thought to have effects on human health. According to some studies, geomagnetic storms can affect people's physiological and psychological parameters such as blood pressure, heart rhythm, stress level, immune system and mood.
Geomagnetic Storm and Northern Lights
The most beautiful effect of geomagnetic storms is the aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are the radiation that occurs as a result of the collision of charged particles in the solar wind with gas molecules in the Earth's atmosphere. These radiations are usually seen in the polar regions, but can reach mid-latitudes when the geomagnetic storm is strong.
The Northern Lights can be seen in different colors and shapes. The colors depend on the type of gas molecules colliding. For example, oxygen molecules produce green and red colors, and nitrogen molecules produce blue and purple colors. The shapes depend on the structure of the Earth's magnetic field. Shapes such as curtains, arcs, arches, rays and waves are usually formed.
Northern Lights is a very rare natural phenomenon in Turkey. However, on October 25, 2023, a strong geomagnetic storm hit the Earth and the Northern Lights were seen in many parts of Turkey. This event was a source of great excitement for both observers and scientists.