Sci-tech

Mars witnesses Northern Lights-like activity amid solar flares

Last month was the peak of this activity where millions witnessed the light show in Europe and North America

By  Web Desk   |  
June 11, 2024
This image showssolar flares causingthe Northern Lights-like effect on Mars. — Facebook/Nasa — National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The Coronal Mass Ejections or solar flares, responsible for the Northern Lights on Earth have hit Mars Monday, according to a statement released by Nasa, triggering auroras on the Red Planet.

The CMEs eruptions are becoming more frequent as the sun is reaching its peak of solar activity this year, completing an 11-year cycle.

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The CMEs interact with the Earth's magnetic field and cause northern lights or aurora borealis. Their effects can also cause communications and radio blackouts on our planet.

Last month was the peak of this activity where millions witnessed the light show in Europe and North America.

According to Nasa, Mars rovers and orbiters have given researchers and scientists views of remarkable solar activity in May with the peak recorded on a May 20.

"The flare sent out X-rays and gamma rays toward the Red Planet, while a subsequent coronal mass ejection launched charged particles," The US agency said.

"If astronauts had been standing next to NASA's Curiosity Mars rover at the time, they would have received a radiation dose of 8,100 micrograys—equivalent to 30 chest X-rays," Nasa said.

"While not deadly, it was the biggest surge measured by Curiosity's Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) since the rover landed 12 years ago."

A Nasa orbiter that provides information about Mars' atmosphere has captured another effect of the recent solar activity. The orbiter, Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN), provided researchers views of "glowing auroras over the planet," it revealed, adding that "the way these auroras occur is different than those seen on Earth."

The activity was also the largest that the MAVEN mission has ever recorded.


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