A rare red aurora was seen in parts of Hokkaido in Japan as well as Heilongjiang in China on 1 Dec, local media reports indicated.
The rare phenomenon is apparently due to a solar eruption that occurred on 29 Nov.
Usually, one can see this at night in the Arctic and the Antarctic, in low-latitude areas.
An employee at an observatory in Hokkaido told The Japan Times that it was “very moving” to be able to see the red lights with the naked eye.
According to Japanese media, a “massive explosion” occurred on the Sun’s surface about two days earlier, on 29 Nov.
The effects of the explosion take about two days to reach Earth, via collisions between space electrons and oxygen and nitrogen during their entry along Earth’s magnetic field.
The aurora was reportedly visible from around 8.20pm on Friday (1 Dec) in the town of Rikubetsu, Hokkaido.
The aurora’s red lights later followed, which an observatory in the town saw.
According to observatory officials, they hadn’t seen such auroras since Oct 2003, 20 years ago.
One staff member, 51-year-old Takuya Murata, told The Japan Times that it was “very moving” to see the lights with the naked eye.
Besides Hokkaido, people also saw the red aurora in the northern Chinese city of Heilongjiang on 1 Dec, CGTN reported.
The China Meteorological Administration stated that the aurora was caused by a geomagnetic storm.
Residents got to see the beautiful sight at the Mohe River and Tahe River in the Daxing’anling area of the province.
Reports indicated that visitors might even be able to see a green aurora lighting up the sky.
The red aurora was also spotted in Mongolia, a similarly low-latitude area.
Whether such a phenomenon will occur again soon is uncertain, so we’re glad that lucky eyewitnesses managed to capture visuals for all of us to admire.
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Featured image adapted from Kyodo via The Japan Times.
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