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Northern lights dance across the Hessian sky | hessenschau.de

Colorful nights are inspiring many people in the country these days. The strongest solar activity in around 20 years brings the northern lights all the way to Hesse.

On Saturday night, as announced by star watchers and meteorologists, the northern lights appeared over Hesse. The reason for the rare green, purple and pink Northern Lights, which otherwise only appear in the night sky as far as Scandinavia, is a so-called solar storm.

On Friday he warned American Meteorological Service NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) ahead of a level five solar storm. This apparently results in mass ejections from the sun, i.e. huge emissions of so-called plasma.

This category on the five-point scale was last reached in October 2003. The reddish-green auroras occur when electrically charged particles are thrown from the sun into the Earth’s atmosphere.

To watch in the dark

This led to an extraordinary light spectacle in the Hesian sky on Saturday night. The northern lights were particularly visible where it was dark – i.e. outside in nature, far away from street lamps or other lights. Elevated places, for example, were well suited for this. But the weather also had to cooperate for the northern lights sightings.

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Rare natural spectacle shines over Hesse

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Starry conditions allowed a view of the natural spectacle, for example over Riedstadt (Groß-Gerau), the Pferdekopf near Schmitten-Treisberg (Hochtaunus), Braunfels (Lahn-Dill), Amöneburg (Marburg-Biedenkopf) or over the Wasserkuppe near Gersfeld (Fulda ). Dozens of people waited there until late at night for the northern lights.

The sky also glowed purple-green over Frankfurt’s skyline, as the German Weather Service (DWD) reported on X.

Chances of repetition decreased

The experts at the US weather agency NOAA had actually announced similar conditions for Sunday night. But later on Saturday they changed their forecast, moving their forecast from level five to levels one to two. This would have reduced the chances of a repeat of the spectacle.

There should be better visibility conditions, especially on Sunday night, than the night before. The sky is “widely starry”, only in the southwest of Hesse there could be light veiled clouds, said hr meteorologist Pila Bossmann.

But the Northern Lights party may not be completely over after all. According to NOAA, additional plasma clouds are expected in the coming days, which could once again produce highly visible auroras.

Frankfurt Airport: No impacts recorded

The solar storm in Hesse on Saturday night probably did not have any negative effects. In addition to the rare light spectacle, such strong solar activity can lead to disruptions in navigation systems or power grids.

As a spokeswoman for Frankfurt Airport said on Saturday morning, there were no incidents due to the solar storm. The northern lights last appeared over Hesse in 2023. The similarly strong solar storm in 2003 even led to power outages in Sweden.

Why so much Northern Lights?

Increased solar activity is responsible for the increase in Northern Lights sightings in Hesse. This goes through an eleven-year cycle with sometimes weak, sometimes strong activity, and we are currently moving towards the activity maximum of the current cycle.

This can be recognized by the so-called sunspots. The more spots, the more active the sun. These spots sometimes explode and then send clouds of plasma into space.

If the direction is correct, they hit the earth, are captured at the poles and cause particles in the ionosphere to glow – the northern lights are created. The more plasma that separates from the sun, the more intense the event becomes.

Huge sunspot

The sunspot responsible for this week’s explosive activity and many bursts of solar plasma is gigantic in size. It measures more than 200,000 kilometers from east to west, making it more than 15 times larger than the diameter of the Earth.

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