Once again a beautiful sight occurred in the sky on Saturday evening. The northern lights are back in action, for the sixth time this year. Wouter van Bernebeek from Weerplaza explains why this natural phenomenon often appears over the Netherlands.
The northern lights are also called the polar lights. The magical light phenomenon can usually be observed very beautifully over the Netherlands. But this year it has already happened six times. At least three times it was clearly visible and produced beautiful images. Three more times it was cloudy. While he appeared once or twice at most a year during the past six years.
The origin of the Northern Lights has to do with the sun’s activity, according to Weerplaza. When there is little activity (solar minimum), there are hardly any spots on the Sun’s surface, which means there are hardly any large explosions of statically charged particles (solar flares). “It is precisely those occasional heavy solar flares that we need to be able to observe the Northern Lights in our country,” explains Wouter van Bernebeek.
Over the past year, the cycle has reversed and we are heading toward solar maximum. Van Bernebeek: “This peak will occur sometime at the end of 2024 or the beginning of 2025: after that there will be a large number of sunspots, which in turn can produce dangerous solar flares.”
Blown to the ground
If such a solar flare were “blasted” directly toward Earth, the chance of seeing the northern lights would be greater. “We see that in 2023 there have already been several solar flares directed towards the Earth, which have produced northern lights visible as far away as the Benelux. This is the effect in the period before solar maximum is reached. This is the period in which they could occur “The aurora borealis are very frequent, and this is something we are not used to at all over the last five to seven years.”
There is a good chance of seeing the northern lights, especially during the spring and fall. As a result, the sky turned a beautiful pink and purple color back in September and a few weeks ago.
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