The 'cause' is the same - solar activity which impacts the Earth's magnetic defences.
It can make for quite a light show.
And we know when they are about to happen because Aurora nerds keep a sharp eye open and use an array of instruments to not just look at the sky but at the Sun. You can get an idea of that here.....
As you can see it does not need a lot of radiation hitting the atmosphere for Tasmanian to see it.
Go up higher though and the ISS - International Space Station does not have to wait around. It sees auroras several times a day.
It can look pretty but there is a significant sting in its tail.
The root cause is the ejection of plasma from the Sun. Modest amounts can light up the sky, but what of far greater amounts?
Then we are in deep doo doos.
As we were told by Josh Davis just yesterday.
Here's How The White House Would Deal With A Huge Solar Storm That Could Send Us Back To The Dark AgeThe worst solar storm to hit the Earth in recorded history happened in 1859. Known as the
it generated auroras as far south as Cuba and caused havoc with the primitive electrical system of the time, generating fires in telegraph stations.
Somehow, for some reason, I do not have a lot of confidence in 'White House' plans. No doubt they will say that the Sun's plasma ejections are caused by global warming and its all your fault and you should pay the UN billions in taxes.It’s estimated that such a large solar storm will occur roughly every 150 years or so. If one of a similar magnitude were to hit the Earth now, with a society much more dependent on electronics and technology, it would undoubtedly have catastrophic consequences.Due to this increasing threat, the White House’s National Science and Technology Council has released a National Space Weather Action Plan, in which it details a strategic plan to prepare for an event such as a major solar storm.
The document warns that with electrical systems becoming increasingly interconnected, if one were to be knocked out, it could cause a cascade of system failures. It recommends a federally-coordinated approach to a number of procedures, from reducing the vulnerability of those infrastructures deemed most at risk, to increasing our forecasting and communications abilities.The Sun is constantly ejecting charged subatomic particles in the form of solar winds, some of which hit our atmosphere. It is this that causes the northern lights, or auroras, though most of the particles that reach us are deflected by Earth’s magnetic field.
Occasionally, particularly large flares will burst from the Sun and the particles will make it through our magnetic field. A recent study has estimated that there is a
12 percent chance that one of these “megaflares” will erupt within the decade, sending a massive solar storm our way.We’ve already had a taster of what might happen if we were struck by a storm, albeit on a much smaller scale.
Back in 1989 Canada got hit by solar storm that created a power surge on the electrical grid. Within 90 seconds this caused the shut-down of Hydro-Québec’s electrical system, leaving millions without power for nine hours. If this were to happen on a much grander scale, the damage would be huge.
One estimate suggests that if a storm the size of the Carrington Event were to hit today, the cost of the clean-up in the U.S. alone would be somewhere between $1-2 trillion (£657 billion to £1.3 trillion) during the first year, with a recovery that could take up to a decade.
In Tasmania the clean-up cost would probably run into hundreds of dollars.Every facet of our lives would be impacted, from transportation, communication, banking and government, as we live in an increasingly electronic world.
Hmmmm. No, I guess there is not a lot we could do. The Stone Age may be a reach into scary imagination but a more realistic one would be the middle ages.In fact the danger is so great that the European Space Agency is also working on its own warning system using scientists spread across 14 countries across Europe. At the moment there isn’t actually much we can do if a storm were to hit, except warn the necessary parties of the incoming threat, who could then make preparations, such as shutting down relevant systems to limit the potential damage.
Stock up on goodies.
It will not be just pretty skies for a while but roving bands of brigands again.