- A strong magnetic storm brought the aurora over Bulgaria, it is more than 300 km in the atmosphere, that is why it is so bright, explained Prof. Rositsa Miteva from the Institute of Astronomy of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
- Associate Professor Petya Trifonova, Institute of Geophysics at BAS: The glow was not a natural phenomenon
A bright red sky surprised the Bulgarians on the night of November 5-6. And photos from all over the country literally flooded the Internet. The phenomenon was quickly dismissed as the aurora borealis, a phenomenon that is characteristic of much more northern parts of Europe. Naturally, almost conspiracy theories also appeared. That is why “24 Chasa” sought the opinion of experts on the northern lights.
The aurora borealis (northern and southern) is a light phenomenon in the Earth’s atmosphere. High-energy particles accelerated during the geomagnetic storm collide with atoms from the Earth’s atmosphere, causing emission of a certain color. The most common are the green auroras caused by the “glow” of atomic nitrogen at lower altitudes. Higher in the atmosphere is atomic oxygen, which emits a red color. Far from the poles – from our latitudes, we can only observe the red auroras, usually low above the northern horizon. This was explained to “24 Chasa” by Assoc. Dr. Rositsa Miteva, specialist in space weather at the Institute of Astronomy of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
She specified that the primary source of the auroras is the geomagnetic storm:
it is a disturbance in the Earth’s magnetic envelope (the so-called magnetosphere) caused by a magnetized “cloud” of plasma ejected from the solar corona in a direction straight to Earth. When this coronal mass and the Earth’s magnetosphere have an opposite magnetic field of their own, a whole series of reactions begins, leading to the acceleration of particles, the occurrence of an electric current in the Earth’s atmosphere and a short-term lowering of one of the components of the Earth’s magnetic field. This temporary lowering of the Earth’s magnetic field is called a geomagnetic storm. The one from November 6, 2023 has an index of about 165 nanoteslas recorded at 20:00 Universal Time, which corresponds to a strong geomagnetic storm.
Auroras follow the course of solar activity (or the number of sunspots), being more often observed during solar maximum, but there are exceptions. The Sun is currently approaching the next, number 25 in a row, solar maximum. Auroras are a natural phenomenon caused by solar activity.
“Aurora borealis have been observed in the past at low latitudes in the tropics, but during the strongest recorded geomagnetic storms in the past. Observation of auroras at our latitudes is a relatively rare event and is associated with a strong geomagnetic storm. Auroras are a common phenomenon around the Earth’s poles – the Scandinavian countries, Canada and Russia. There are auroras at both poles of the Earth at the same time, but there are not many observers for the southern ones for objective reasons”, explained Prof. Rositsa Miteva.
“It’s not HAARP, it’s not the Antichrist, it’s not Putin’s influence, it’s not the end of the world
This is a very rare phenomenon. The red light that we used to be popular is the aurora borealis, which we call northern because it is in the northern hemisphere”, said Sofia University climatologist Prof. Georgi Rachev.
He also explained that one of the reasons the phenomenon is rare is because it is so far south. All of Europe was watching him. There were many photos from Germany, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary. This is a particularly aurora, because it is caused by the ionization of oxygen in the high layers of the atmosphere – over 300 kilometers. That is why it is seen here.
The sun ejects billions of tons of mass into space
When the burst is turned toward the Earth, it enters the Earth’s magnetosphere and those magnetic lines that lead to the South and North Poles and cause the oxygen and nitrogen bodies to glow. When this penetration is in the lower atmosphere, then the nitrogen glows violet. When it is at an altitude of about 240 km, it glows blue-green. It is very rare for this to happen in the upper atmosphere, indicating a very intense solar wind. This is the name given to these charged particles from the explosion, as a result of which a dark red or pink color is visible. This is at a height of more than 300 km, which indicates the very great power of the solar flare. The magnetic storm coefficient is very high. The planetary index is from 0 to 9. On Sunday afternoon, one of the posts said that
the index has reached 8
It was adjusted to 7.5 on Monday. Either way, this is a very strong magnetic storm. As a result, the sky turns red.
“That makes it quite unique. I personally do not remember that there was such a specific coloring of the sky over Bulgaria. A rare phenomenon”, Prof. Rachev also said.
He noted that there was nothing dangerous. Older people who are weather sensitive may feel some discomfort. This subsides because already on Monday the index fell to 5. Prof. Rachev e
surprised that there is no communication breakdown,
in the satellite connections, in the transmission of data and images via the GSM system.
This is a natural phenomenon, justified by the 25th consecutive solar cycle observed by mankind. We are heading towards peak solar activity. More and more spots are forming on the face of the Sun. The sun is heading towards its maximum in another 11-year cycle. “We are lucky that we were able to see a rare phenomenon. It may have happened other times, but it was not seen so brightly, because the human eye sees only a small part of the solar spectrum – the so-called visible light, and blood red is already the end of its sensation,” the climatologist explained.
Scientists: Aurora over Europa coincided with HAARP experiment
The beautiful northern lights we witnessed on November 5 may be a coincidence of a magnetic storm that coincided with the HAARP experiments (the Program for High Frequency Active Aurora Research), which take place between November 4 and 7. This was admitted to “24 Chasa” by Associate Professor Petya Trifonova from the Institute of Geophysics at the BAS. The USGS program’s facilities are located in Gakona, Alaska, and the research announcement was posted on the university’s website there on Nov. 1. It noted that all radio amateurs and the general public could join the observations to help with height and distance measurements.
The experiment has nothing to do with the popular conspiracies where HAARP is the protagonist. In fact, it is humanity’s most powerful instrument, featuring a phased array of 180 high-frequency antennas capable of radiating 3.6 megawatts into the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The research is funded by the US Geophysical Institute and aims to provide more clarity on how auroras form and how they affect satellites. In the Nov. 1 announcement, the scientists noted that the emissions will be between 2.8 and 10 MHz from Nov. 4 to 7 and will change based on “real-time ionospheric and/or geomagnetic data.” As well as that “part of the project is the generation of artificial airglow”.
The AIRGlow experiments turn the HAARP transmitters on and off to create a radio-induced glow as well. This is done by transmissions adding energy to the gases in the upper atmosphere, freeing electrons from atomic bonds and activating a process called ionization. At these moments, interactions with molecules and atoms begin, creating a visible glow at an altitude of 200-250 km.
“Artificial aurora can help us learn more about natural aurora and answer some questions. For example, what causes the brightest light and why does it happen, how do radio waves interact with ionized gases (plasma) in the upper atmosphere? The phenomenon, if visible, will appear as a pale, red or possibly green spot,” the scientists warn.
In their announcement, they also noted that the phenomenon would likely be seen at a distance of about 500 km from Gakona, Alaska, where the facilities are located. However, insurance is made that these emissions can travel long distances.
Associate Professor Petya Trifonova, Institute of Geophysics at BAS: The glow was not a natural phenomenon
– Prof. Trifonova, is there any clarity about the aurora borealis observed on Sunday evening over Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Hungary, Austria, possibly other European countries?
– My opinion is that nothing is clear yet. The magnetic storm was not strong, it was rather moderate, and in order to reach the auroras observed all the way to our territory, it is necessary that it be much more powerful. You have to reach at least an index of 9, and we registered 7. Usually auroras are noticed at values between 8 and 9, so for me the phenomenon was inexplicable. I can’t rule out the possibility that it’s a combination of reasons. These days the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) announced that between November 4 and 7 it will conduct an experimental campaign to
study of man-made glow
by emitting very low frequency radio waves. The main objectives will be to better understand the mechanisms in the ionosphere that produce optical emissions (natural auroras) and to investigate whether certain types of waves in the ionosphere can amplify VLF/ELF waves. The organization HAARP itself was created to experiment with artificial auroras, and this time they announced that they will launch a joint experiment with American universities to try to create artificial northern lights. The goal is to understand these phenomena, because undoubtedly
it’s about a lot of energy –
and it is free from the Sun, let’s learn more about these waves that form in the ionosphere. The researchers have described what energies they will put in, on what days they will conduct the experiment, so that all interested people can calculate the distance, the height at which the lights will appear and observe them. However, we in Bulgaria are quite far away. On the other hand, the red color of the aurora is formed highest – 300-400 km above the Earth, where the energetic particles of the Sun interact with the oxygen atoms and give a red glow. I suppose it’s possible
that an overlap has occurred,
on November 5th there was a magnetic storm, there were particles that formed an aurora in the polar circles, and I guess it coincided with the HAARP experiment.
– Is there a possibility that it is a natural phenomenon?
– I can’t believe that last night’s aurora observed over Bulgaria and Europe could happen naturally with this phenomenon from the Sun, because it is not that strong. It’s possible there’s something we don’t know about, but the fact that the experiment is happening right now makes me think it’s not a coincidence. Therefore, I think that this particular phenomenon is not clear yet.
– What do your colleagues abroad say?
– I looked at the sites of the other observatories – a magnetic storm was registered and it proceeds in the same way – both here, which are at moderate latitudes, and at the poles. Including in Boulder, which is in the north of the USA – and there this phenomenon is registered, which is strange. Therefore, I would not say that it is only due to a natural phenomenon.
– What is HAARP, the organization is accused of some conspiracies?
– This is a high-frequency artificial research program – researchers design them, emit relevant radio frequencies, inject energy into the upper atmosphere, energize the particles to achieve this effect. The purpose of these experiments is to study how energies interact, what waves are formed, we need to know,
so that, if ever necessary, these phenomena may be used
This particular study is an experiment by the Universities of Alaska, Cornwall, Colorado and Florida. I guess they are measuring the result now, but if I were them, I wouldn’t do such an experiment when there is also a magnetic storm, because I won’t know how much of the effect is due to it and how much to the research. On the other hand, I think that these are really serious institutions, and most likely there has been an overlap and an amplification of the effect. I hasten to say that the survey did not harm anyone, the recorded magnetic field has now stabilized, briefly reached 7, and I do not think there is a reason for concern.